Survey on the psychological effects of the second Covid-19 wave

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How does the second wave of Covid-19 affect the Swiss population’s psyche?

How does the second wave of Covid-19 affect the Swiss population’s psyche? (Photo: engin akyurt / Unsplash)

The results of a survey conducted by the University of Basel showed that the pandemic’s first wave put a great deal of psychological strain on many people in Switzerland. Now, the second wave of Covid-19 has arrived just as the nights are drawing in again. A second survey conducted as part of the Swiss Corona Stress Study seeks to determine the effects that the rise in infection rates and restrictions on day-to-day living are having on people’s mental well-being.

Back in spring, there was light at the end of the tunnel: long summer months that promised plenty of outdoor activities and a potential reduction in infection rates. The second wave of Covid-19 has coincided with the arrival of winter, and measures have been taken that have imposed major restrictions on people’s social lives in particular. With no end in sight, this is likely to become a heavy burden again for many. As a result, health officials are increasingly turning their attention to the psychological effects caused by the situation.

Researchers led by Professor Dominique de Quervain at the University of Basel are looking at the impact of the second wave on the mental well-being of the Swiss population. As in the spring, the study is being conducted under the auspices of the Swiss Corona Stress Study. The nationwide anonymous online survey takes around 20 minutes to complete and is available in German, French and Italian.

In addition to questions about stress and symptoms of depression - which are intended to allow parallels to be drawn with the previous survey - this new questionnaire contains questions on the current lockdown measures and their consequences. The aim is to detect potential differences between this situation and the one in spring, and to identify strategies that the population could employ as a means of counteracting the negative psychological effects. The researchers plan to make the results of the study and the corresponding conclusions available to health officials.

The first survey in the Swiss Corona Stress Study revealed that the spring lockdown led to a range of responses. While half of the respondents stated that they had experienced no change or even a reduction in their stress levels, the other half stated that the lockdown had resulted in an increase in stress. The frequency of severe symptoms of depression rose during the lockdown, and remained high even after measures were partially relaxed.

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