The first wave of the COVID‐19 pandemic and its impact on socioeconomic inequality in psychological distress in the UK

Abstract We use data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) to compare measures of socioeconomic inequality in psychological distress, measured by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), before (Waves 9 and the Interim 2019 Wave) and during the first wave of the COVID‐19 pandemic (April to July 2020). Based on a caseness measure, the prevalence of psychological distress increased from 18.5% to 27.7% between the 2019 Wave and April 2020 with some reversion to earlier levels in subsequent months. Also, there was a systematic increase in total inequality in the Likert GHQ‐12 score. However, measures of relative socioeconomic inequality have not increased. A Shapley‐Shorrocks...

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