Cross-National Study of Mental Health and Employment Status Nine Months Post Social Distancing Implementation Practices

Mary C. Ruffolo*, Daicia Price, Tore Bonsaksen, Janni Leung, Mariyana Schoultz, Hilde Thygesen, Ostertun Geirdal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This cross-national study examined the mental health between those individuals working and those not working nine months post initial COVID-19 social distancing implementation. Respondents (N = 3,474) were recruited through social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) and completed an online survey in October/November 2020. The respondents were from Norway, the UK, the USA and Australia. The mental health of those working and not working were analysed using t tests and socio-demographics were compared using one-way analysis of variance. Respondents who were working were significantly more likely to experience better mental health, were younger, report higher levels of education, and significantly less likely to worry about their own situation, health or financial situation than respondents who were not employed. Respondents who were retired reported better mental health than respondents who were not working for other reasons (laid off/dismissed, receiving benefits, studying, other). These findings raise the importance for social workers and other health service providers to monitor the overall mental health of individuals especially when social distancing protocols are in place and as countries begin to recover from the pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2105-2124
Number of pages20
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Issue number4
Early online date19 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


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