A new survey has revealed that people in the UK are more worried about their finances than they are about potentially catching COVID-19.
According to the research – which has been conducted as part of University College London’s COVID-19 Social Study, based on the opinions of 28,495 people between 21 March and 27 March in the UK – almost four in 10 people (38%) are worried about their finances, which is up from 32% in January and is the highest since the start of the pandemic.
Whereas now, some 33% are concerned about getting COVID-19, which is down from 40% in January.
The researchers at UCL also found that just, in the wake of the rising cost of living crisis, just 56% of people felt in control of their finances in March 2022, compared to 63% in October 2021.
Working age adults were twice as likely as older people to be concerned.
On a slightly different front, when asked, only around 49% said they felt in control of their mental health, compared with 54% six months ago, with the number of people reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression said to now be at its highest level for 11 months.
Speaking on the findings of the recent survey, lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt, from UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, said: “These findings could suggest that our return to more ‘normal’ living has not had all the mental health benefits that people necessarily expected – but it is also notable that the last few months have seen a cost of living crisis emerge.
“Concerns about money have been increasing, with people now more concerned about finances than about COVID-19.
“This suggests that new psychological stressors are becoming dominant for individuals.”
Dr Fancourt said the significant drop in concern about catching COVID-19 comes at the same time as a fall in the number of people following advice to wear face coverings, socially distance, and take COVID tests, but added: “Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the number of COVID cases, hospitalisations and deaths remains equivalent or higher than in January 2022.
“[This means] that the overall situation remains unchanged despite the shift in attitude.”
The study is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, UK Research and Innovation, and Wellcome.
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