Article

Effects of COVID-19-related worry and rumination on mental health and loneliness during the pandemic: Longitudinal analyses of adults in the UK COVID-19 Mental Health & Wellbeing study

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Citation

O’Connor DB, Wilding S, Ferguson E, Cleare S, Wetherall K, McClelland H, Melson AJ, Niedzwiedz C, O’Carroll RE, Platt S, Scowcroft E, Watson B, Zortea T, Robb KA & O’Connor RC (2022) Effects of COVID-19-related worry and rumination on mental health and loneliness during the pandemic: Longitudinal analyses of adults in the UK COVID-19 Mental Health & Wellbeing study. Journal of Mental Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638237.2022.2069716

Abstract
Background: The lasting effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic are likely to be significant. Aims: This study tracked worry and rumination levels during the pandemic and investigated whether periods with higher COVID-related worry and rumination were associated with more negative mental health and loneliness. Methods: Quota survey design and a sampling frame that permitted recruitment of a national sample were employed. Findings for waves 1 (March 2020) to 6 (November 2020) are reported (N=1943). Results: COVID-related worry and rumination levels were highest at the beginning of the first lockdown, then declined but increased when UK returned to lockdown. Worry levels were higher than rumination levels throughout. High levels of COVID-related worry and rumination were associated with a five- and ten-fold increase in clinically meaningful rates of depression and anxiety (respectively) together with lower wellbeing and higher loneliness. The effects of COVID-related worry on depression and anxiety levels were most marked and clinically meaningful in individuals living with a pre-existing mental health condition. Conclusions: Psychological interventions should include components that specifically target COVID-related worry and rumination. Individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions should be prioritised as we emerge from the current pandemic and in any future public health crises.

Keywords
Wellbeing; depression; anxiety; perseverative cognition; inequalities; repetitive thought

Notes
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Journal
Journal of Mental Health

StatusIn Press
FundersUniversity of Glasgow
Publication date online31/05/2022
Date accepted by journal03/04/2022
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/34120
ISSN0963-8237
eISSN1360-0567

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Professor Ronan O'Carroll
Professor Ronan O'Carroll

Professor, Psychology

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