The COVID-19 Pandemic and Mental Health: Disentangling Crucial Channels

24 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2021

See all articles by Bettina Siflinger

Bettina Siflinger

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Michaela Paffenholz

University of Mannheim

Sebastian Seitz

University of Mannheim; ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research

Moritz Mendel

University of Bonn

Hans-Martin von Gaudecker

University of Bonn - Economic Science Area; Netspar; Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA)

Abstract

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a major source of concern has been its effect on mental health. Using pre-pandemic information and five customized questionnaires in the Dutch LISS panel, we investigate how mental health in the working population has evolved along with the most prominent risk factors associated with the pandemic. Overall, mental health decreased sharply with the onset of the first lockdown but recovered fairly quickly. In December 2020, levels of mental health are comparable to those in November 2019. We show that perceived risk of infection, labor market uncertainty, and emotional loneliness are all associated with worsening mental health. Both the initial drop and subsequent recovery are larger for parents of children below the age of 12. Among parents, the patterns are particularly pronounced for fathers if they shoulder the bulk of additional care. Mothers' mental health takes a particularly steep hit if they work from home and their partner is designated to take care during the additional hours.

JEL Classification: I10, I14, I18, I30, J22

Suggested Citation

Siflinger, Bettina and Paffenholz, Michaela and Seitz, Sebastian and Mendel, Moritz and von Gaudecker, Hans-Martin, The COVID-19 Pandemic and Mental Health: Disentangling Crucial Channels. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14266, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3823633

Bettina Siflinger (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

Michaela Paffenholz

University of Mannheim

Universitaetsbibliothek Mannheim
Zeitschriftenabteilung
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

Sebastian Seitz

University of Mannheim ( email )

Universitaetsbibliothek Mannheim
Zeitschriftenabteilung
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034
Germany

Moritz Mendel

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Hans-Martin Von Gaudecker

University of Bonn - Economic Science Area ( email )

Adenauerallee 24-42
D-53113 Bonn
Germany

Netspar ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) ( email )

Amalienstrasse 33
Munich, 80799
Germany

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