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Mental health inequalities during the second COVID-19 wave among Millennials who grew up in England: Evidence from the Next Steps cohort study

Gagné, T; McMunn, A; (2023) Mental health inequalities during the second COVID-19 wave among Millennials who grew up in England: Evidence from the Next Steps cohort study. Journal of Affective Disorders , 327 pp. 23-30. 10.1016/j.jad.2023.01.101. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: There is relatively little evidence on socioeconomic inequalities in mental health among young adults after the end of the first COVID-19 wave in the UK, despite this group having faced the worse mental health and economic shocks across age groups at the start of the pandemic. Methods: We examined differences in mental health across two points - September 2020 and February 2021 - in a cohort of 4167 Millennials aged 30–31 using life dissatisfaction, psychological distress (GHQ-12), anxiety (GAD-2), and depressive symptoms (PHQ-2). We report adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) from random-intercept models, testing differences by educational attainment and time-varying conditions (relationship status, living arrangements with adults and children, work status, and financial changes compared with before the outbreak), adjusting for baseline covariates at ages 13–14 and health covariates at ages 25–26. Results: Only dissatisfaction with life changed between time points (PR = 1.26, 95%CI 1.02–1.55). Educational attainment was not significantly associated with mental health. Being single (aPRs from 1.36 to 1.89) and being financially worse off since the start of the pandemic (aPRs from 1.58 to 1.76) were each associated with worse mental health. These associations did not further vary by educational attainment. Conclusion: Among Millennials who grew up in England, educational attainment was not associated with mental health whereas negative social and financial conditions were associated with worse mental health during the second COVID-19 wave. Mental health inequalities in this generation are likely to have continued increasing after the end of the first COVID-19 wave.

Type: Article
Title: Mental health inequalities during the second COVID-19 wave among Millennials who grew up in England: Evidence from the Next Steps cohort study
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2023.01.101
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2023.01.101
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: COVID-19, England, Mental health, Millennials, Next Steps cohort, Young adults
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10164957
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