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ISER Working Paper Series 2020-08

The gender gap in mental well-being during the Covid-19 outbreak: evidence from the UK

Authors

Publication date

08 Jun 2020

Abstract

We document a decline in mental well-being after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. This decline is twice as large for women as for men. We seek to explain this gender gap by exploring gender differences in: family and caring responsibilities; financial and work situation; social engagement; health situation, and health behaviours, including exercise. Differences in family and caring responsibilities play some role, but the bulk of the gap is explained by social factors. Women reported more close friends before the pandemic than men, and increased loneliness after the pandemic's onset. Other factors are similarly distributed across genders and so play little role. Finally, we document larger declines in well-being for the young, of both genders, than the old.

Subjects

Social Networks, Psychology, Time Use, Demography, Public Policy, Well Being, Health, Life Course Analysis, Caregiving, Social Psychology, and Covid 19

Notes

Is referenced by: Public Health England. (2020) 'COVID-19: mental health and wellbeing surveillance report'. London:Public Health England.

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