Is the Mental Fallout From a Pandemic Moderated by Neighbourhood Characteristics? Evidence From the First Wave of COVID-19 in Great Britain

37 Pages Posted: 10 May 2022 Last revised: 9 Mar 2023

See all articles by Lina Anaya

Lina Anaya

University of Bradford

Peter Howley

University of Leeds - Faculty of Business

Muhammad Waqas

University of Bradford

Gaston Yalonetzky

University of Leeds - Faculty of Business; Leeds University Business School (LUBS) - Division of Economics

Date Written: May 4, 2022

Abstract

Using a quasi-experimental research design and drawing on several small-area indicators, we examine the role of neighbourhood and outdoor dwelling characteristics in predicting the impact of the pandemic’s first wave on mental health in Great Britain. We find that proximity to blue spaces, such as rivers, lakes or beaches, was associated with lower mental distress during the first lockdown period. Additionally, outdoor dwelling characteristics such as garden space or the presence of a rooftop, terrace or balcony were also associated with less mental distress. Finally, our findings suggest that there were substantive geographic inequalities in impact with individuals living in areas with higher income and health deprivation experiencing on average much higher levels of mental distress. Remarkably, these results are robust to the inclusion of potential sociodemographic mediators. Overall, our findings demonstrate that the first wave of the covid-19 pandemic led to a marked increase in population-level mental distress, but crucially these impacts varied sharply across different housing and neighbourhood types.

Note:
Funding Information: This work was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19.

Conflict of Interests: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Keywords: Subjective well-being; mental health; COVID-19; lockdown; UK Neighbourhood

JEL Classification: I12, I31, J22

Suggested Citation

Anaya, Lina and Howley, Peter and Waqas, Muhammad and Yalonetzky, Gaston, Is the Mental Fallout From a Pandemic Moderated by Neighbourhood Characteristics? Evidence From the First Wave of COVID-19 in Great Britain (May 4, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4102124 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4102124

Lina Anaya

University of Bradford ( email )

Emm Lane
Bradford, West Yorkshire Bd9 4JL
United Kingdom

Peter Howley

University of Leeds - Faculty of Business ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Muhammad Waqas (Contact Author)

University of Bradford ( email )

Bradford
Bradford, West Yorkshire BD7 1DP
United Kingdom

Gaston Yalonetzky

University of Leeds - Faculty of Business ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Leeds University Business School (LUBS) - Division of Economics ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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