The impact of coronavirus on mental health and relationships
February 4th, 2021, Milan Dinic

The impact of coronavirus on mental health and relationships

Half of Britons say that their mental health has deteriorated as a result of coronavirus

Data from the YouGov 2020 Personality Study reveals that 53% of Britons say that the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the UK has harmed their mental health, including one in seven (14%) who said the overall situation caused by COVID-19 had a very negative impact.

Only three in ten (31%) say the outbreak has had no impact on their psychological wellbeing, while 8% say it has actually caused an improvement in their mental state.

The most negatively affected are 25-39 year olds, of whom six in ten (60%) said the disease and accompanying lockdown had taken its toll on their mental health. By contrast, fewer than half of those aged 60 and older (44%) experienced a negative impact.

Most Britons have experienced anxiety since the onset of the outbreak

Nearly two-thirds of the population (63%) have felt anxious at least several times a month since March 2020. One in five (20%) report feeling anxious on most days of the week or even more frequently.

Women in particular are more likely to say they have felt anxious several times a month or more, at 70% compared to only around half (53%) of men.

Younger Britons are more likely to experience anxiety more frequently than their elders. One in three 16-24 year olds (32%) say they have felt anxious on most days or virtually every day, a figure which falls with each subsequent age group before bottoming out at just 11% of those aged 60 and above.

Coronavirus has shaken many people’s personal relationships

When it comes to those who are in a relationship, one in nine (11%) report that they and their partner have become more distant as a result of the disease. For three times as many (33%) the pandemic has actually brought them closer to their partner. The most common response, however, is that the coronavirus outbreak has had no implications on their relationship (53%).

The study found no significant discrepancies between men and women in a relationship concerning this question.

The lockdown and other social distancing measures introduced since March meant that many people have been unable to see their friends.

More than two in five Britons (45%) felt they have become more distant with their close friends since household mixing became restricted. A third (35%) say there has been no real difference, whilst just one in seven (15%) said the overall situation has made them even closer with their good friends.

Whether or not lockdown has had an impact on your friendships depends on your age. The proportion of 16-24 year olds who say it has made no difference is just 19%, a figure which increases with each age group before reaching 47% of those aged 60 and above.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of those aged 16-24 say they have become closer with their friends since March, compared to 13-18% of people in other age groups. Older Britons (those aged 60+) are less likely to say that they have become more distant from their friends (38%) than everyone else (47-51%).

See part two of the study here