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Finding out the impact of COVID-19 on all aspects of our lives

  • Date

    Wed 15 Apr 20

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We all know the COVID-19 pandemic has majorly affected all our lives – from how we get our basic food shopping to keeping in touch with the ones we love.

Now a collaboration involving the University of Essex has launched a new survey to get a better understanding of the exact impact of this global crisis on all aspects of our daily lives, how it is affecting our mental and physical wellbeing, and how this will change over time.

Working in conjunction with Active Essex and State of Life, the survey will measure how the current situation is affecting people’s work, health, finances, relationships, trust in government and life in general and how these attitudes change during the COVID-19 crisis.

Although primarily aimed for those aged over 16 and living in Essex, the survey is open to anyone in the UK. Participants will be asked to take part in the five-minute, weekly survey so their changing responses can be matched to changes in the crisis.

Dr Valerie Gladwell, from the University’s School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, said: “We have constructed the survey to help us better understand how this situation is affecting those at an individual and community level. The survey covers how people feel, food and financial security, who they trust, what daily life is like, how active they are and their work status.

“It means we will have a better understanding of where there is the most need to strengthen communities and will hopefully help us identify what helps improve mental and physical health, and what support is needed during and after this crisis.”

Dr Paul Freeman, who is also part of the University team working on the project, added: “We are working together with a range of experts including social sciences academics here in the University. This means not only can we collect the data appropriately, but we have the expertise to interpret the data rapidly to get a real understanding of the impact this crisis has had individuals and the community as a whole.”

All the questions already have a national baseline level so the research team will see immediately how the nation has changed in happiness, food and financial security, work status, anxiety or affected levels of trust in government and in each other.

The researchers want as many people as possible to take part in the survey, and the results will be compared to data sets from ActiveLives and the University’s household panel survey Understanding Society to map changes in attitudes.