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Unexpected negative health shocks such as COVID-19 put pressure on households to provide more care to relatives and friends. This study uses data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study to investigate the impact of informal caregiving on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a difference-in-differences analysis, we find that individuals who started providing care after the pandemic began reported more mental health issues than those who never provided care. Additionally, the gender gap in mental health widened during the pandemic, with women more likely to report mental health issues. We also find that those who began providing care during the pandemic reduced their work hours compared to those who never provided care. Our results suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health of informal caregivers, particularly for women.

Original publication




Journal article


Econ hum biol

Publication Date





COVID-19, Caregivers, Gender, Informal care, Job status, Mental health, Social care