Socioeconomic Status and Mental Health Inequalities from Isolation

Slides by Amelia Fleetwood

My research addresses the question, “How does socioeconomic status impact mental health during quarantine isolation?” People receiving state financial benefits report less use of public spaces, a less strong social network, more loneliness, and poorer mental health than those not receiving benefits (Jaspal, Breakwell 2020). Participants with lower socioeconomic status experienced increased depression, stress, sleep quality, isolation, and fear due to the COVID-19 crisis (Marmet et al. 2020). Studies reveal that socieconomic Status (SES) is directly linked to negative mental health symptoms during this pandemic. I conducted research through online forums and articles to understand the space and the current research that is out there. Additionally, I conducted primary research to learn how real individuals around me are affected by this situation during the COVID-19 pandemic. I utilized digital ethnography and interviews to gain a first-hand understanding of the space and user pain points. I also draw from my personal experiences as well as from these willing interview participants to better grasp the depth of this issue in our world today. A majority of these participants wished to be kept anonymous for the purpose of this project.

My project aims to prove the presence of stratification and inequality in the mental health of those with lower incomes. I consider potential solutions to improve the mental health of this group by encouraging the use of public spaces, building strong social networks, and finding other ways to improve mental health. My work coincides with already conducted studies that have found that socioeconomic status significantly influences the prevalence of depressive symptoms during COVID-19 (Agberotimi et al. 2020). I consider information that signifies the opposite: a larger decrease in depressive symptoms of higher income individuals. I hope through the research findings of this project, I can make a substantial impact on the mental wellbeing of all individuals, but specifically on those who have lower incomes.

Bibliography

Agberotimi, S. F., Akinsola, O. S., Oguntayo, R., & Olaseni, A. O. (2020). Interactions Between Socioeconomic Status and Mental Health Outcomes in the Nigerian Context Amid COVID-19 Pandemic: A Comparative Study. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 559819. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.559819

Jaspal R, Breakwell GM. Socioeconomic inequalities in social network, loneliness and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. December 2020. doi:10.1177/0020764020976694

Marmet, S., Wicki, M., Gmel, G., Gachoud, C., Daeppen, J., Bertholet, N., & Studer, J. (2020, December 11). The psychological impact of the COVID-19 crisis is higher among young Swiss men with a lower socioeconomic status: evidence from a cohort study. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/kftn3

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