Changes in psychological well-being, attitude and information-seeking behaviour among people at the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic: A panel survey of residents in Hubei province, China


Chen, X., Gao, H., Zou, Y., & Lin, F.

Epidemiology and Infection, 148 (2020)

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Abstract: While most research focuses on the clinical treatment of COVID-19, fewer studies have investigated individuals’ responses towards this novel infectious disease. This study aims to report the temporal changes in individuals’ psychological wellbeing, perceived discrimination, sociopolitical perceptions and information-seeking behaviours among the general public in Hubei, China. Data were obtained from a two-wave survey of 1902 respondents aged 18–80 in Hubei province during the peak and mitigation stages of the outbreak. The results showed that the prevalence of psychological distress dropped from over 75% to around 15% throughout the study period, but perceived discrimination remained stable. Female, middle-aged, well-educated respondents and those employed in government/public institutions/state-owned enterprises tended to report more distress. While respondents’ attention on COVID-19 information kept high and stable, their sources of information diversified across different sociodemographic groups. Over time, people obtained more social support from neighbourhoods than from their friends and relatives or non-government organisations. Over 80% of respondents were satisfied with the performance of the central government, which was notably higher than their ratings on the local government and neighbourhood/village committees. The findings of this research are informative for formulating effective intervention strategies to tackle various psychosocial problems during COVID-19.

About the author: Chen Xi was a HYI Visiting Fellow from 2013-14.