Does caring for others affect our mental health? : Evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic

Costi, Chiara and Hollingsworth, Bruce and O'Sullivan, Vincent and Zucchelli, Eugenio (2023) Does caring for others affect our mental health? : Evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic. Social Science and Medicine, 321: 115721. ISSN 0277-9536

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Despite a growing literature about the mental health effects of COVID-19, less is known about the psychological costs of providing informal care during the pandemic. We examined longitudinal data from the UK's Understanding Society Survey, including eight COVID surveys, to estimate fixed effects difference-in-differences models combined with matching, to explore the causal effects of COVID-19 among informal carers. While matching accounts for selection on observables into caregiving, multiple period difference-in-differences specifications allow investigation of heterogeneous mental health effects of COVID-19 by timing and duration of informal care. The estimates suggest that while mental health fluctuated following the imposition of social restrictions, informal carers who started caregiving during the pandemic show the largest mental health deterioration, especially during lockdowns. Policies to mitigate the psychological burden of caregiving might be more effective if targeted at those starting to provide care for the first time.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Social Science and Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? informal caremental healthmultiple time period difference-in-differencescovid-19health(social science) ??
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Deposited On:
13 Mar 2023 16:30
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 23:39