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The prevalence of common mental disorders across 18 ethnic groups in Britain during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS)

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E-pub ahead of print
  • P. Irizar
  • H. Taylor
  • D. Kapadia
  • M. Pierce
  • L. Bécares
  • L. Goodwin
  • S.V. Katikireddi
  • J. Nazroo
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/08/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Affective Disorders
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)42-51
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date7/05/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted mental health in the general population in Britain. Ethnic minority people suffered disproportionately, in terms of health and economic outcomes, which may contribute to poorer mental health. We compare the prevalence of depression and anxiety across 18 ethnic groups in Britain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data (February–November 2021) from 12,161 participants aged 18–60 years old (N with data on outcomes = 11,540 for depression & 11,825 for anxiety), obtained from the Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS). Data were weighted to account for selection bias and coverage bias. Weighted regression models examined ethnic differences in depression (Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) and anxiety (Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7). Effect modification analyses explored whether ethnic differences in outcomes were consistent within age and sex sub-groups. Results: Compared to White British people, greater odds of anxiety caseness (and greater anxiety symptoms) were observed for Arab (OR = 2.57; 95 % CI = 1.35–4.91), Mixed White and Black Caribbean (1.57; 1.07–2.30), any other Black (2.22, 1.28–3.87) and any other Mixed (1.58; 1.08–2.31) ethnic groups. Lower odds of depression caseness (and lower depressive symptoms) were identified for Chinese (0.63; 0.46–0.85), Black African (0.60; 0.46–0.79), and any other Asian (0.55; 0.42–0.72) ethnic groups. Limitations: Cross-sectional data limits the opportunity to identify changes in ethnic inequalities in mental health over time. Conclusions: We have identified certain ethnic groups who may require more targeted mental health support to ensure equitable recovery post-pandemic. Despite finding lower levels of depression for some ethnic groups, approximately one third of people within each ethnic group met criteria for depression.