Subjective well-being during the 2020-21 global coronavirus pandemic: Evidence from high frequency time series data.
We investigate how subjective well-being varied over the course of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with a special attention to periods of lockdown. We use weekly data from YouGov's Great Britain Mood Tracker Poll, and daily reports from Google Trends, that cover the entire period from six months before until eighteen months after the global spread of COVID-19. Descriptive trends and time-series models suggest that negative mood associated with the imposition of lockdowns returned to baseline within 1-3 weeks of lockdown implementation, whereas pandemic intensity, measured by the rate of fatalities from COVID-19 infection, was persistently associated with depressed affect. The results support the hypothesis that country-specific pandemic severity was the major contributor to increases in negative affect observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that lockdowns likely ameliorated rather than exacerbated this effect.