THURSDAY, Jan. 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Men from ethnic minorities and women are experiencing higher increases in mental distress during COVID-19, according to a study published online Jan. 6 in PLOS ONE.
Eugenio Proto, Ph.D., from the University of Glasgow, and Climent Quintana-Domeque, Ph.D., from the University of Exeter, both in the United Kingdom, compared data from before the COVID-19 pandemic (2017 to 2019) and during the COVID-19 pandemic (April 2020) for the same group of individuals to assess and quantify changes in mental health among ethnic groups in the United Kingdom.
The researchers confirmed a previously documented average deterioration in mental health for the whole sample of individuals. There was variation by ethnicity and gender in the average increase in mental distress. Compared with White British men, women, regardless of ethnicity, and Black, Asian, and minority ethnic men experienced higher average increases in mental distress; the gender gap was only seen among White British individuals. After controlling for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, these ethnic/gender-specific changes in mental health persisted. Compared with White British men, there was some evidence that Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani individuals experienced the highest average increase in mental distress.
"We call for additional research on the potential differential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by ethnicity, and urge both policy makers and researchers to allocate resources to collect larger sample sizes of minority ethnic groups," the authors write.