Brexit has been a three year headache - for women

01/08/19 . News

The health research is in: Brexit really has been a three year headache - for women, anyway. 

Research has found evidence that Remainers suffered Brexit Blues following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union - comparable to a chronic migraine.

Using the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), which produced more than 38,000 data points before and after the June 2016 referendum, the paper Who Got the Brexit Blues? found that those who voted leave saw their wellbeing improve after the vote, but those who voted to remain in the EU saw their average "mental distress" rise.

The research found that reporting low life satisfaction a year ahead of the vote was a strong predictor for people going on to vote leave in the 2016 referendum. (Well, it’s one way of cheering yourself up, I suppose.)

Lead researcher Dr Nick Powdthavee of Warwick Business School said: ‘There was an immediate worsening (of mental wellbeing) for those who preferred to remain in the EU post-Referendum in terms of mental stress. Plus, the heightening of Remainers’ average mental stress appears to be long-lasting and increases over time. The increase in mental distress associated with Brexit is roughly similar in magnitude as the negative effect of having a chronic migraine.’

Men and over-40s

What about the gender split? Powdthavee said: ‘Men were also more likely than women to prefer leaving the EU. We were able to see that it was mainly men and the over-40s who preferred to leave who derived the most satisfaction from the Brexit vote. While we also found that women and the over-40s who preferred to remain in the EU reported a significant increase in the usual level of mental stress following the EU referendum.’

Women appear to have suffered from the divisions created by Brexit whether they voted for or against it. ‘Women who were anti-Brexit were far more likely to suffer mental distress after the Referendum than men who were anti-Brexit. Men who stated they were anti-Brexit did not report a significant decrease in overall life satisfaction post-referendum, whereas women did.’

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.