May 2020: A study conducted by professors from B-school Goa Institute of Management (GIM) Dr. Divya Singhal and Prof. Padhmanbhan Vijayaraghavan to examine Indian public’s reactions towards Covid-19’s outbreak by gauging the psychological response in terms of anxiety and their coping behavior found that most individuals are more worried over the health of their loved ones than their own well-being.
“A majority of the respondents have become conscious of any bodily changes, sensations, mild cold, cough, sneezing and experience concern and attribute those changes to the symptoms of Covid-19”, explains Associate Professor Dr. Singhal who is also the Chairperson, Centre for Social Sensitivity and Action at the institute.
The survey-based study took into account inputs from 231 respondents residing in various part of the country.
More than 50% of the respondents (n=>140) have reported that their social media usage has gone up as well as their time spent in watching movies and shows through online mediums.
It is also important to note that respondents (>80%; n=190) agree that their technology usage to connect with their friends and relatives has gone up.
A large group of respondents (>50%; n=153) feel that reading forwarded messages on Covid-19 is depressing. An overwhelming majority of the respondents (>90%; n= 215) agree that they discourage unverified forwarded message on illness in the social media.
A majority of the respondents (41%;) reported that they are not doing any physically activities such as Yoga during the lock-down period and another (19%) were not sure about engaging themselves in physical activities. They also responded that they (57%) were not practising any mind calming practices such as meditation and (18%) were not sure about practising any meditative practices. However, majority of the respondents (70%; n=>160)) reported that they spend most of the time in resting during the lock-down period. An overwhelming majority of the respondents (84%) had planned to learn something new during the period.
It is also important to note that a large group of respondents (60%; n=158) enjoy receiving, reading and forwarding humorous messages in their social media. About 74% of the respondents were happy that they have got more time to spend with their family during the lock-down situation.
It can be observed from the study that during the Covid-19 outbreak’s lock-down period, respondents displayed high involvement with social media, watching online movies and shows and prolonged resting. This prolonged engagement with social media, watching movies, and continuous rest or sleeping can be viewed as an escape or avoidance coping mechanism.
Secondly, respondents have resorted to coping by seeking social and emotional support through connecting with their friends and relatives as well as spending more time with their family members which can be viewed as social support seeking behaviour. Findings from various studies states that social support especially from family acts as strong protective factor for anxiety and reinforcing the belief that support resources are available to them.
Thirdly, respondents have resorted to active coping strategy by discouraging unverified forwarded information on the illness; and also engaging in positive reappraisal of the situation by actively planning to learn something new during the period.
The demographic profile of the respondents shows that 145 (63%) respondents were male and 86 (37%) female out of total 231 respondents, majority of them (42.86 % and 32.03 %) exist in the age group of 18-31 & 32-45 respectively and 9.09 % exist in the age group of 46- 51 and higher age groups consisted of 16.01 %. Out of total respondents, 60.17% are from non-metro cities and 39.83% are from metro cities. With regard to occupation, 47.62% respondents are employed with private or Government; 12.55 % own business, 22.94% are students and rest includes retired persons and homemakers.
Speaking about the study said Dr. Singhal, “I and my colleague Prof. Padhmanabhan were on admission related travel earlier this year. As news on Covid-19 started gaining momentum we realized we felt a certain degree of vulnerability and worry. This virus has no discrimination of age, gender, education, cast, colour, ethnicity etc. This research idea stemmed from our personal motivtion to know how people were feeling, reacting and coping with the pandemic”
The study related Infographics can be accessed from https://osf.io/pdfkv/