Characteristics of mental health stability during COVID-19: An online survey with people residing in a city region of the North West of England.

Ujhelyi Gomez, Katalin ORCID: 0000-0002-1396-9588, Corcoran, Rhiannon ORCID: 0000-0001-8900-9199, Ring, Adele, Hassan, Shaima ORCID: 0000-0001-7840-3342, Abba, Katherine, Downing, Jennifer ORCID: 0000-0001-7691-1167, Goodall, Mark ORCID: 0000-0002-4880-998X, Gabbay, Mark ORCID: 0000-0002-0126-8485, Clarke, Pam ORCID: 0000-0002-1430-1037, Moran, Paul
et al (show 2 more authors) (2022) Characteristics of mental health stability during COVID-19: An online survey with people residing in a city region of the North West of England. PloS one, 17 (7). e0266153-e0266153.

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<h4>Background and aim</h4>Despite the significant mental health challenges the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated government measures have presented, research has shown that the majority of people have adapted and coped well. The aim of this study was i) to determine the proportion of people with mental stability and volatility during the pandemic in a North West England city region sample and ii) to establish group differences in psychosocial variables. Mental stability and volatility refer to the extent to which individuals reported change in levels of common mental health symptoms over the course of 12 weeks. No change in mental health over the 12 weeks reflected mental stability whilst change in mental health reflected mental volatility.<h4>Method</h4>A two-wave-online survey (N = 163) was used to explore the psychological and social impact of the pandemic on relatively disadvantaged neighbourhoods within the region. The data collected represents 12 weeks of individual pandemic experience between mid-June and mid-December 2020. A three-level composite common mental health change variable was created combining self-reported anxiety and depression to group stable, volatile, and very volatile individuals in terms of the changeability of their mental health. Kruskal-Wallis with post-hoc tests were used to determine how people with mental stability and volatility differed on factors categorised within an ecological framework of resilience (individual, community, societal, and COVID-19 specific).<h4>Results</h4>Individuals categorised as 'stable' in terms of mental health symptoms (63.6%) had better mental and physical health; were more tolerant of uncertainty; and reported higher levels of resilience and wellbeing compared to 'very volatile' people (19.8%). These individuals also reported feeling less socially isolated, experienced a greater sense of belonging to their community which was more likely to fulfil their needs, and were more likely to have access to green space nearby for their recommended daily exercise. 'Stable' individuals did not report worrying any more during the pandemic than usual and tolerated uncertainty better compared to those in the 'volatile' group.<h4>Implications</h4>The majority of participants in this sample were mentally stable and coping well with the challenges presented by the pandemic. The resilience of these individuals was related to key place-based factors such as a strong sense of community and useable local assets. The data showcase the role of place-based social determinants in supporting resilience and thereby highlight key preventative measures for public mental health during times of international crisis.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans, Anxiety, Mental Health, Pandemics, Surveys and Questionnaires, COVID-19
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Population Health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2022 10:20
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 20:56
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0266153
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