woman holding small child by radiator
BPS updates, Mental health, Poverty

Cost of living crisis disproportionately impacting women’s anxiety

Ahead of World Mental Health Day, the BPS is warning that women's mental health is being hit hard by the cost of living crisis.

07 October 2022

By BPS Communications

Women are bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis and its damaging impact on anxiety and mental health the BPS has warned, as new figures reveal that 61 per cent of females say they are more anxious about being able to pay their bills than this time last year, compared to 47 per cent of males.

In research undertaken by YouGov for the BPS, females consistently reported feeling more anxious about being able to pay their bills, feeling depressed about the cost of living crisis and worrying more about household costs than men.

30 per cent of females said worrying about money was making them feel depressed, compared with 26 per cent of males, while female respondents were also more concerned about being able to afford various household costs over the coming year, including energy bills (77 per cent of females versus 65 per cent of males).

The findings highlight the disproportionate toll that the cost of living crisis is having on women’s anxiety, stress and mental health.

Women often shoulder the burden of managing household costs such as food and childcare, and are also more likely to be low-paid, and in part-time or insecure employment.

They are also more likely to rely on the benefit system, making them more vulnerable to rises in the cost of living and any failure to uprate benefits in line with inflation. Single parents, the majority of whom are women, are even more likely to be living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet.

Julia Faulconbridge, chartered psychologist and member of the BPS’ Division of Clinical Psychology, said:  

“There is no doubt that the current cost of living crisis will increase stress, anxiety and worry for millions across the country, and it will hit women particularly hard.

We know women often shoulder more of the childcare and home responsibilities, and are more likely to be in low-paid and insecure work, increasing their chances of being hit by rising prices, and subsequently experiencing greater anxiety, stress and worry.

There is a clear causal link between living in poverty and mental health difficulties.

We know that the stress of raising a family in poverty can have a huge impact on parents’ mental health, and poverty is one of the major risk factors for developing mental and physical health problems in children.

This is magnified in a single-parent household which is why we urgently need the government to confirm they will support those who need it most by uprating benefits in line with inflation.”

More about World Mental Health Day

Ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the BPS is urging the government to commit to uprating benefits in line with inflation, and provide more targeted support to the most vulnerable households this winter.

Find out more about World Mental Health Day

Read more on these topics