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Face covering adherence is positively associated with better mental health and wellbeing: a longitudinal analysis of the CovidLife surveys

By Drew Altschul, Chloe Fawns-Ritchie, Alex Kwong, Louise Hartley, Clifford Nangle, Rachel Edwards, Rebecca Dawson, Christie Levein, Archie Campbell, Robin Flaig, Andrew McIntosh, Ian Deary, Riccardo Marioni, Caroline Hayward, Cathie Sudlow, Elaine Douglas, David Bell, David Porteous

Posted 20 Dec 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.18.20248477

Face masks or coverings are effective at reducing airborne infection rates, yet pandemic mitigation measures, including wearing face coverings, have been suggested to contribute to reductions in quality of life and poorer mental health. Longitudinal analyses of more than 11,000 participants across the UK found no association between lower adherence to face covering guidelines and poorer mental health. The opposite appears to be true. Even after controlling for behavioral, social, and psychological confounds, including measures of pre-pandemic mental health, individuals who wore face coverings "most of the time" or "always" had better mental health and wellbeing than those who did not. These results suggest that wearing face coverings more often will not negatively impact mental health.

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