Published: 28-09-2023 15:05 | Updated: 28-09-2023 15:07

Low income and education, risk factors for mental ill-health during the pandemic

Photo of man holding his head in his hands.
Photo: iStock

Swedes with lower income and education were at greater risk of deteriorating mental health during the pandemic. This is shown in a study conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg in collaboration with Professor Mats Lekander at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience.

Together, several aspects of Swedes' mental health in relation to the pandemic were examined. In total, more than 5,700 people participated in two different surveys.

The first measurement was taken before the pandemic in January 2019, and the second measurement took place during the second wave of the pandemic in October-November 2020. The participants answered questions about anxiety, depression, stress and well-being, before and during the pandemic.

Overall, the researchers could see slightly higher levels of mental ill-health during the pandemic, compared to before its outbreak. The deteriorating mental health of the Swedish population during the pandemic, with increased depression, anxiety, and lower self-rated well-being, became s clearer when Swedish citizens' income and education level was taken into account.

A somewhat surprising result was that stress levels for Swedish citizens decreased somewhat during the pandemic. This finding can possibly be explained by the fact that the pandemic for some groups had positive effects such as working from home, a slower pace, more time for rest, and a flexibility in relation to professional life.

Read the Study here: Mental health, stress, and well-being measured before (2019) and during (2020) COVID-19: a Swedish socioeconomic population-based study