Associations between dimensions of behaviour, personality traits, and mental-health during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic (including lockdown) is likely to have had profound but diverse implications for mental health and well-being, yet little is known about individual experiences of the pandemic (positive and negative) and how this relates to mental health and well-being, as well as other important contextual variables. Here, we analyse data sampled in a large-scale manner from 379,875 people in the United Kingdom (UK) during 2020 to identify population variables associated with mood and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to investigate self-perceived pandemic impact in relation to those variables. We report that while there are relatively small population-level differences in mood assessment scores pre- to peak-UK lockdown, the size of the differences is larger for people from specific groups, e.g. older adults and people with lower incomes. Multiple dimensions underlie peoples’ perceptions, both positive and negative, of the pandemic’s impact on daily life. These dimensions explain variance in mental health and can be statistically predicted from age, demographics, home and work circumstances, pre-existing conditions, maladaptive technology use and personality traits (e.g., compulsivity). We conclude that a holistic view, incorporating the broad range of relevant population factors, can better characterise people whose mental health is most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funder: UK Dementia Research Institute.