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Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register
Study record
Stroud 2021First Published: 2021 Jul 21Updated Date: 2021 Jul 21

Longitudinal changes in the mental health of UK young male and female adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Study Type
  2. Observational
  1. Study Aim
  2. Other
  1. Study Design
  2. Case series/Case control/Cohort
  1. Intervention Assignment
  2. Not Applicable
Reference record

Longitudinal changes in the mental health of UK young male and female adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

Stroud I, Gutman LM
Journal article
Report Results
An increasing body of research indicates that, whilst young adults are at the lowest risk of becoming severely physically ill as a result of COVID-19, they are at the greatest risk of adverse mental health outcomes. Using data from the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey, the current study examined the mental health of 18-25-year-olds during the pandemic. Current mental health was measured at six time points using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), a validated measure for mental distress. The analytic sample included 880 young adults (292 = males; 588 = females). The trajectory of mental health was modeled from April to November 2020, using demographic information and health behaviors (physical activity, alcohol consumption, and smoking cigarettes) as covariates. Growth curve modeling indicated that alcohol consumption, smoking, being female, having a lower income, and having a pre-existing mental health condition were risk factors for worse mental health during the pandemic. For females, their mental health was lowest in April but gradually improved until September, when it began to decline again. Males, in contrast, had a relatively stable trajectory of mental health across the pandemic. These findings can help inform targeted interventions for at risk groups to minimize the adverse impact of the pandemic on young adults' mental health