Gender differences in the mental health impact of the COVID-19 lockdown: Longitudinal evidence from the Netherlands


- by Jari Bosma

Recently, researchers have highlighted the consequences of the COVID-19 lockdowns on mental health differences between men and women. These studies are cross-sectional and therefore cannot distinguish between existing mental health differences between men and women and mental health differences between men and women caused by the COVID-19 lockdown. Vloo: “This study is a longitudinal study with data from the Lifelines biobank, in which the mental health of participants was determined several times both before and during the COVID-19 lockdown, allowing us to distinguish between existing differences and differences caused by the lockdown”.

Significant mental health differences were found between men and women during the lockdown: Women experienced more depression symptoms and disorders and men more anxiety symptoms and disorders as a result of the lockdown. This contributes to the increase of the already existing inequality between men and women. Policy makers should take into account that the COVID-19 lockdowns do not have an equal effect on the mental health of men and women.