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Allostatic load and mental health during COVID-19: The moderating role of neuroticism

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posted on 2021-08-17, 10:43 authored by Stephen GallagherStephen Gallagher, Rachel C. Summer, Ann-Marie Creaven, Páraic S. O'Súilleabháin, Siobhán Howard
Background During the COVID-19 pandemic increased risk of poor mental health has been evident across different cultures and contexts. This study aims to examine whether allostatic load (AL) prior to the pandemic was predictive of poor mental health during the pandemic, and if any associations were moderated by neuroticism. Methods Data were extracted from Waves 2 (2011, allostatic load), 3 (2012, neuroticism), and the COVID-19 study (April 2020) of the Understanding Society database in the UK; data were available for 956 participants. Results Mental health increased from 2012- to during the pandemic. Neuroticism and AL were positively associated with poorer mental health during COVID-19, such that those who had scored higher on neuroticism and had higher AL prior to the pandemic reported poorer mental health during the pandemic. Neuroticism was also a significant moderator; the effect of AL on mental health during the pandemic was exacerbated in those with high and moderate levels of neuroticism but not lower. Moreover, this was driven by the immune-related indices of AL. This withstood adjustment for age, gender, employment status and prior mental health. These findings are discussed in relation to the pathophysiological mechanisms of mental health.

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Publication

Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health;16, 100311

Publisher

Elsevier

Note

peer-reviewed

Language

English

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