According to a new mental health study, young men in the UK are most likely to break the lockdown rules imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A team of psychologists, led by Dr Liat Levita from the University of Sheffield, examined the impact of the pandemic on young people by conducting a survey with a UK representative group of 2000 individuals aged 13-24 years.
The findings showed that more than half of young men aged 19-24 years had flouted the lockdown rules by meeting with a group of friends. These individuals were also more likely to believe that they were not at risk of getting infected with COVID-19 or spreading the infection to others, and that it was not worthwhile to comply with the government’s guidelines. More men aged 19-21 years had been dispersed, arrested, fined or taken home by police for violating the rules compared with their female counterparts of the same age.
Forty to 50 per cent of young individuals reported feeling significantly more anxious than they did before the outbreak. The rates of anxiety were highest among the youngest teenagers, while older groups exhibited lower levels of overall well-being. More than half of young individuals also reported being more worried about their parents or family than usual. COVID-19-related anxiety and trauma and overall well-being were significantly worse in individuals whose parents were front-line workers. Individuals of black and mixed race had 10 per cent higher levels of anxiety and depression compared with individuals of white and Asian ethnicity.
Dr Levita said: “Our young people are growing up in a time of pandemic, and our study is helping us understand the implications of this on their current and future wellbeing. We should applaud them on how they are managing to cope, but recognise that the impact on them is significant."