Men and women suffering from depression more likely to break lockdown rules, study reveals

Young men and women suffering from depression are more likely to break lockdown rules than those who are not, a major study has revealed.

According to the research, published by the University of Sheffield and Ulster University, mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, play a “significant part” in how far young people will follow public health guidelines.

The study shows that those who are suffering from depression are more likely to break the rules, but those suffering from anxiety are more likely to comply.

The paper – which polled over 2,000 young people aged 13 to 24 years old – also found that over half of participants report feeling higher levels of anxiety compared to before the outbreak.

By age group, the youngest teenagers reported higher levels of anxiety, but the oldest individuals reported the lowest overall feelings of wellbeing. When asked what is triggering these feelings, more than half said they were worried about parents and grandparents, especially those operating as key workers – such as nurses and delivery drivers.

Commenting on the findings, lead author and senior lecturer Dr Liat Levita said: “Our young people are growing up in a time of pandemic, and our study is helping us understand the implications of this on their current and future wellbeing. We should applaud them on how they are managing to cope, but recognise that the impact on them is significant – with over 50 per cent experiencing higher levels of anxiety and worry.

“We should also be careful in painting an overly bleak picture. Not everyone will experience this period negatively, and we found that some of our teens are enjoying being at home with their parents more than ever, and are not more anxious or worried than before.”

The latest figures suggest that around one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, with the most common illnesses being anxiety and depression.

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