Pandemic hurting finances, stress levels and relationships: report

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Almost one in two Australians, 47 per cent, say they are more stressed because of the COVID-19 crisis, according to new data from the Australian National University (ANU).

The findings, based on a survey of over 3200 Australians, also show three in 10 Australians say their finances have worsened during the pandemic.

Co-author Professor Nicholas Biddle said the pandemic had also worsened Australians’ outlook for the future, with 40 per cent feeling pessimistic.

Meanwhile, 43 per cent of Australians are feeling lonely or isolated due to the crisis and related lockdowns.

The study also examined how Australians felt about their relationships, with almost one in five females (17.6 per cent) and males (17.5 per cent) saying they were worse off.

However, three in 10 females (30.8 per cent) said their relationships had improved, compared to around one in four males (24.9 per cent).

Younger Australians were more likely to report their relationships had worsened (24.1 per cent), while those aged 75 years or older were least likely (7.5 per cent). The age group with the most improved relationships were 35 to 44-year-olds (32.9 per cent).

The age groups with the highest net improvement (subtracting the number of people who said their relationship had worsened from those who said it had improved) were those aged 4554 years (15.3 per cent), 3544 years (13.8 per cent) and 75 years and older (13.3 per cent).

In other key findings, only 22.5 per cent of the population are estimated to have not experienced any of these negative changes during the COVID-19 period compared to 51.6 per cent who reported no improvements in the same measures.

“This is all taking a major toll on Australians’ mental health,” Prof. Biddle said.

“Australia has been very fortunate during the COVID-19 period with low rates of infection and mortality.

“However, that does not mean that there have not been large negative effects on other important outcomes, like our relationships, sense of financial security, stress, and loneliness.”

Prof. Biddle also said that the longitudinal data showed that deterioration in relationships and increases in loneliness were directly associated with worsening mental health.

“We need to make sure those Australians who are feeling worse off due to the COVID-19 crisis are given the support they need,” he said.

How has your relationship with your partner fared during the pandemic? Has it improved or worsened?

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Written by Ben


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