Allostatic load and mental health during COVID-19: The moderating role of neuroticism

Gallagher, Stephen, Sumner, Rachel C ORCID: 0000-0002-2421-7146, Creaven, Ann-Marie, O’Súilleabháin, Páraic S. and Howard, Siobhan (2021) Allostatic load and mental health during COVID-19: The moderating role of neuroticism. Brain Behavior and Immunity - Health, 16. Art 100311. doi:10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100311

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Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic increased risk of poor mental health has been evident across different cultures and contexts. This study aims to examine whether allostatic load (AL) prior to the pandemic was predictive of poor mental health during the pandemic, and if any associations were moderated by neuroticism. Methods: Data were extracted from Waves 2 (2011, allostatic load), 3 (2012, neuroticism), and the COVID-19 study (April 2020) of the Understanding Society database in the UK; data were available for 956 participants. Results: Mental health increased from 2012- to during the pandemic. Neuroticism and AL were positively associated with poorer mental health during COVID-19, such that those who had scored higher on neuroticism and had higher AL prior to the pandemic reported poorer mental health during the pandemic. Neuroticism was also a significant moderator; the effect of AL on mental health during the pandemic was exacerbated in those with high and moderate levels of neuroticism but not lower. Moreover, this was driven by the immune-related indices of AL. This withstood adjustment for age, gender, employment status and prior mental health. These findings are discussed in relation to the pathophysiological mechanisms of mental health.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Allostatic load; COVID-19; Inflammation; Mental health; Neuroticism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Rachel Sumner
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2021 09:44
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 13:02

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