Media consumption and mental health during COVID-19 lockdown: a UK cross-sectional study across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Ruth Neill, Carolyn Blair, Paul Best, Emily McGlinchey, Cherie Armour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Aim As individuals adjust to new ‘norms’ and ways of living during the COVID-19 lockdown, there is a continuing need for upto-date information and guidance. Evidence suggests that frequent media exposure is related to a higher prevalence of mental
health problems, especially anxiety and depression. The aim of this study was to determine whether COVID-19 related media
consumption is associated with changes in mental health outcomes.
Methods This paper presents baseline data from the COVID-19 Psychological Wellbeing Study. The cross-sectional study data
was collected using an online survey following the Generalised Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7) and the Patient Health
Questionnaire (PHQ-9), with some other basic information collected. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the
influence of socio-demographic and media specific factors on anxiety and depression.
Results The study suggested that media usage is statistically significantly associated with anxiety and depression on the GAD-7
and PHQ-9 scales with excessive media exposure related to higher anxiety and depression scores.
Conclusion This study indicated that higher media consumption was associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression.
Worldwide it should be acknowledged that excessive media consumption, particularly social media relating to COVID-19, can
have an effect on mental health. However, as this was a cross-sectional study we cannot infer any directionality as we cannot infer
cause and effect; therefore, future research involving longitudinal data collection and analyses of variables over time is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Media consumption
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

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