Well-being disparities during the COVID-19 outbreak: Evidence from Malta (2021)

Nathaniel Debono (and co-authors)


As governments struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, individuals across the globe experienced considerable impacts on their lifestyles and well-being. This study examines these impacts in Malta, where COVID-19 first broke out in early March 2020. Within days, government authorities had instituted a range of restrictions, culminating in lockdown for older persons. A survey undertaken toward the end of the month (1,821 respondents) yielded the necessary data to estimate an econometric model of subjective well-being. This sheds light on the considerable impact that COVID-19 had on self-assessed happiness and life satisfaction and on the resulting disparities that arose. Significant effects were experienced by those who were exposed to or concerned about the effects of COVID-19. A significant and negative association was also found to exist between old age and happiness. Working from home and having a university degree were found to be positively associated with happiness. Typically important positive predictors of well-being, such as social interaction and engagement in outdoor activities, failed to predict well-being at all during the COVID-19 outbreak in Malta. On the other hand, engaging in sport, artistic work or voluntary work continued to be associated with higher levels of self-assessed happiness and life satisfaction. These findings yield insights on the broader impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traumatology. DOI: