Aims: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have detrimental mental health consequences. However, there is limited understanding of its impact on the mental health of the general population. The aim of this study was to examine the mental health of the Japanese general population by conducting the first systematic survey during the pandemic with a particular focus on identifying the most vulnerable groups. Methods: Data was obtained from an online commercial web panel of 2000 respondents in April and May 2020. Information was collected on demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as mental health status (anxiety and depressive symptoms). Logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations. Results: The mental health of young and middle-aged individuals was significantly worse than that of older individuals during the pandemic. There was also some indication that individuals who were not currently working were significantly more likely to report a high level of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Part-time and temporary contract-based workers were also more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms. Conclusion: Our results highlight that monitoring the mental health of younger and economically vulnerable individuals may be especially important. In addition, they also indicate that population mental health might not only be affected by the direct health consequences of COVID-19, but also by the economic ramifications of the pandemic.
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