Anxiety and Coping during COVID-19: What General Public in India say?

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Research study done by Professors of Goa Institute of Management, Goa
Goa : Dr. Divya Singhal, Chairperson, Centre for Social Sensitivity and Action & Associate Professor at Goa Institute of Management and her colleague Prof. Padhmanbhan Vijayaraghavan conducted a study to examine Indian public’s reactions towards Covid-19’s outbreak by gauging the psychological response in terms of anxiety and their coping behavior adapted during that lock-down time period.
Their analysis of health related anxiety reveals that respondents are more worried over the health of their loved ones than theirs. 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.
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 movie/shows online.
It is also important to note that respondents (>80%; n=190) agree that their technology usage to connect with their friends and relatives have 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 them 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 the social media, watching online movies/ 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 supports especially family social support acts as strong protective factors for anxiety and reinforcing the belief that support resources are available for the 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 study related Infographics can be accessed from https://osf.io/pdfkv/
https://osf.io/dr3tx/ (in Hindi); Detailed paper can be accessed here: http://psyarxiv.com/jeksn/