We document a decline in mental well-being after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. This decline is more than twice as large for women as for men. We seek to explain this gender gap by exploring gender differences in: family and caring responsibilities; financial and work situation; social engagement; health situation, and health behaviours, including exercise. We discuss two dimensions of gender differences, the extent to which particular circumstances relate to well-being and the share of individuals facing a given circumstance. Overall, we find that differences in family and caring responsibilities can explain a part of the gender gap, but the bulk is explained by social factors such as loneliness. Other factors such as financial difficulties or age are similarly distributed across genders and thus play little role in explaining the gap.
Covid-19 has seen large declines in mental well-being across many countries, associated with the effects of lockdown policies. Given the seasonal patterns of respiratory diseases in general, it seems likely that future pandemic-related lockdowns will be more concentrated in winter. This paper assesses if winter induces higher well-being costs of lockdowns. Using local variation during the UK lockdown in spring 2020, we find little effect of temperature, sunshine and rainfall on well-being. This finding is despite a strong effect of weather on mobility in parks during the same period. Our evidence suggests that winter weather does not exacerbate the well-being costs of lockdowns. Our results also indicate a limited role for recreational activity in maintaining well-being in this context.