COVID-19 stressors, wellbeing and health behaviours: a cross-sectional study

Lauren Bell, Rosie Smith, Emily van de Venter, Catherine Shuttleworth, Katie Wilson, Deborah Lycett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Following the implementation of pandemic response measures, concerns arose regarding the impact for population health and wellbeing.

    This study reports findings from a survey (N = 2510) conducted in Warwickshire (UK) during August and September 2020, and for the first time investigates behaviours which may worsen or mitigate the association between COVID-19-related stressors and wellbeing.

    Increased stressors were associated with lower mental wellbeing and higher loneliness. Participants with a mental health condition reported lower wellbeing, as did younger groups, women and participants not in employment. To cope with restrictions, more participants engaged in healthier behaviours over unhealthy behaviours, and relaxing reduced the association between stressors and poor wellbeing. Some participants reported increasing alcohol and unhealthy dietary behaviours to cope with restrictions, however, these behaviours did not mitigate the impact of COVID-19 stressors and were instead negatively associated with wellbeing. Around half of participants helped neighbours during the pandemic, a behaviour positively associated with wellbeing particularly among older adults.

    These findings contribute understanding about how various positive and negative health behaviours may mitigate or worsen the impact of COVID-19 on wellbeing, and how public health interventions may effectively target behaviours and groups in similar populations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberfdab241
    Pages (from-to)e453-e461
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Public Health
    Issue number3
    Early online date30 Jun 2021
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jun 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


    • behaviour
    • mental health
    • public health

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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