Universities researching UK attitudes to coronavirus

A research projects aimed at gauging the UK public’s attitude and responses to the coronavirus pandemic has been launched.

For accurate and up to date information on coronavirus please go to gov.uk/coronavirus. If you’re outside the UK please see the information on coronavirus from your national and local authorities.

Cardiff University reports its experts, and colleagues from Cardiff Metropolitan University, are urging people from across the UK to take part in a survey to assess how people feel about, and how they are responding to, one of the biggest health crises facing the country in recent history.

The wide ranging questionnaire asks how much impact people feel the pandemic is having on their lives, and what they think about the way the government and health services are responding.

The researchers hope up to ten thousand people will take part, and those organising the frontline response will get early access to the reports to help inform the measures they are taking.

Project leader Dr Rhiannon Phillips, a lecturer in health and wellbeing psychology from Cardiff Metropolitan University, said “We’ve set this project up very quickly because we want to capture what’s happening right now. This is one of the first projects of its kind in the UK.

“These are uncertain times for many people – the situation is changing rapidly – and we want to make sure we document the here and now and the challenges we’re all facing.”

Dr Emma Thomas-Jones, a researcher who leads on infection, inflammation and immunity research at Cardiff University, said “We want to know what people are thinking, feeling and doing to help the response to this crisis now – but also as a matter of historical record.”

The survey should take about twenty or thirty minutes to complete and questions include:

  • How severe do you think the coronavirus infection will be in the UK?
  • Are you scared of coronavirus?
  • How often do you think about coronavirus?
  • What specific actions you are taking and how effective you feel these measures will be
  • Whether you have had enough information about Covid-19 and which sources you feel are reliable

The researchers said they wanted to hear from people aged eighteen or over with a wide range of experiences, but particularly urged men, people aged under thirty and those aged over sixty to respond. They would also like to hear from people who are finding the current situation particularly difficult due to their personal circumstances.

The questionnaire will be distributed to thirty six thousand five hundred people via the HealthWise Wales project, which is collecting data to build up an in depth picture of the nation’s health to help plan future needs. But the researchers stressed that they want people from across the UK to take part.

They plan to repeat the survey, which is currently unfunded, in three months and again in a year to see how attitudes shift over time.

Dr Thomas-Jones, of Cardiff University’s Centre for Trials Research, said “We hope this research will help us to understand people’s experiences of this pandemic now – and as it progresses – to help health organisations and the NHS respond in real time.

“We also hope it will help to inform the response to any future pandemics the UK might face.”

The researchers plan to create a final report on the project and prepare an article for an academic journal. They also hope to use the findings for teaching purposes.

The survey will be open until April 12th.

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