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Infection Rates Matter – Especially for People from Lower Social Class: A Large-Scale Investigation of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Vera Vogel, Theresa Entringer

In: Zeitschrift für Psychologie 231 (2023), 2, S. 161-171


The COVID-19 pandemic was a long-lasting and stressful event that had enormous psychological, economic, and social consequences. This study extends prior research by examining the relationship between infection rates and mental health as well as its dependency on social class. Therefore, we used large-scale data from a nationwide sample (N = 5,742) across two time periods in the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany (time period 1: April-July 2020; time period 2: January-February 2021). At the beginning of the pandemic, only lower-class individuals experienced mental health detriments with higher infection rates. In the course of the pandemic, however, higher infection rates were accompanied by severe mental health detriments for the general population, but especially for lower-class individuals. We discuss possible mechanisms underlying these effects such as infection rates as indicators of the crisis conditions and social class components as indicators of specific economic, cognitive, and social resources.

Theresa Entringer

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin in der Infrastruktureinrichtung Sozio-oekonomisches Panel

Themen: Gesundheit

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, infection rates, social class, mental health, loneliness