Associations of the COVID-19 pandemic with social well-being indicators in Mexico

Int J Equity Health. 2022 May 21;21(1):74. doi: 10.1186/s12939-022-01658-9.


BACKGROUND: Public health measures for COVID-19 containment have implied economic and social life disruptions, which have been particularly deleterious in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) due to high rates of informal employment, overcrowding, and barriers to accessing health services, amongst others social determinants. Mexico, a LMIC, is a country with a high COVID-19 mortality in which there has been a very limited governmental response to help mitigate such COVID-related disruptions. This study analyzes the association of the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis in Mexico with four well-being indicators: income, employment, anxiety, and food security.

METHODS: It uses pooled cross-sectional data (n = 5453) of five monthly nationally representative surveys collected between April and August 2020. Probit models are estimated to assess the association of the pandemic with job loss and anxiety; a multinomial logistic regression is estimated for food security, and an ordinary least squares regression assesses the association between the pandemic and changes in household’s income.

RESULTS: Females were significantly associated with worse outcomes for the 4 well-being measures with an average reduction of 2.3% in household income compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, an increased probability (6.4 pp) of being in a household that had lost jobs, decreased probability of food security (6.9 pp), and an increased risk of anxiety symptoms (8.5 pp). In addition, those with lower SES and household with children also reported worse outcomes for employment, income and food security. The month variable was also statistically significant in these models suggesting that as more months of the pandemic elapsed the effects persisted.

CONCLUSION: The currents study documents how the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with different well-being indicators in a LMIC. It suggests the urgent need to take actions to support vulnerable groups, particularly women, households with children and those in the lowest SES. If policy actions are not taken, the pandemic will increase social and gender disparities, and will jeopardize childhood development.

PMID:35597958 | DOI:10.1186/s12939-022-01658-9