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This study analyses the changes in mental health in the UK that occurred as a result of the 2016 referendum on UK membership of the EU (Brexit). Using the Household Longitudinal Study, we compare the levels of self-reported mental distress, mental functioning and life satisfaction be-fore and after the referendum. A linear fixed effects analysis revealed an overall decrease in mental health post-referendum with higher levels of mental distress, and a decline in the SF-12 Mental Component Summary score. Furthermore, the study does not find evidence of significant changes in overall life satisfaction in the two years after the referendum. Younger men, highly educated and Natives, especially those living in stronger "Remain areas", seem to be the groups most affected by the Brexit in terms of mental health. Overall, the results of this study suggest that the outcome of the referendum and the economic uncertainty that it brought impacted the mental health of voters in a negative and diverging way.

Original publication




Journal article


Soc sci med

Publication Date





Brexit, Mental health, Subjective well-being, UK