The emotions and behaviours facilitated by the COVID-19 lockdown and the implications for overall population health.

Here is the debrief for the study you have just left the survey page of:

The emotions and behaviours facilitated by the COVID-19 lockdown and the implications for overall population health.

Thank you for taking part in our research! Now that your contribution has finished, let us explain the rationale behind this work.

We are interested in discovering how the COVID-19 lockdowns have altered our emotions and behaviours and how our physical health may have changed as a result. If significant changes are found which indicates that negative behaviours have become more prevalent, investigating how this may impact the long-term health of individuals is important as it allows us to better prepare for higher rates of illness, for example, obesity, diabetes, strokes etc. across the population in future years. 

The link between psychological and physical wellbeing is curvilinear (Shen et al, 2011; Kim et al, 2012). This means that when mental health is poor, physical health is at a higher risk of being poor also. However, poor mental health may also occur in instances where an individual is obsessed with physical health such as participating in excessive exercise – balance is key in maintaining both! Previous research has found that anxiety and depression share a component of negative affect, as shown in the tripartite model of anxiety and depression (Clark & Watson, 1991) which is significant in theories around behaviours such as binge eating: it is believed to be a primary factor in the disorder (Heatherton & Baumeister, 1991). Binge eating is more likely to occur following a period of negative affect as a mechanism to escape unpleasant feelings. Individuals may resort to cognitive narrowing (low-level thinking, the denial of broadly meaningful thought and a shorter attention span to allow focus on the immediate present) to remove inhibitions, which allows such sessions to take place. Negative affect is also linked with both lack of physical exercise and alcohol-related problems (Dua & Hargreaves, 1992; Martens et al, 2008).

We asked you to indicate where you felt you were on a 7 point Likert scale across numerous questions. We hypothesise that a positive correlation will be found between the level of distress caused by the pandemic and the degree of detrimental behaviour displayed by the participants.

Your information will be used to form an analysis at the end of the study and may be presented to interested parties and published in scientific journals and related media. All information presented in any reports or publications will be anonymous and unidentifiable. Data will be preserved and accessible for a minimum of 10 years after completion of the research. You have the right to withdraw from the study for up to one month after your completion of the questionnaire. If you feel affected by issues raised by this research and would like to discuss any concerns, please contact the study Supervisor on the details provided below. If you think this piece of research may have health implications for you, we advise you to contact your GP (family doctor).

Other sources of support include:

–        Swansea University’s Wellbeing services: Wellbeing Services, Horton Building, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, Tel: 01792 295592, http://www.swansea.ac.uk/wellbeing/ .  

–        If you are struggling to cope because of the coronavirus pandemic, visit the Mind website to get tips on how to take care of your mental wellbeing: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/difficult-feelings-about-the-coronavirus-pandemic/#collapse631da

–        Beat Eating Disorders: helpline: 0808 801 0677, studentline: 0808 801 0811, youthline: 0808 801 0711. Visit their website at:  https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/support-services

–        Alcoholics Anonymous helpline: 0800 9177 650.

–        If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can contact the Samaritans by calling 116 123.

If you have any other questions about the research, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Isobel ReesDepartment of PsychologySwansea University Email: 984019@swansea.ac.uk Dr Victoria LovettDepartment of PsychologySwansea University Email: V.E.Lovett@swansea.ac.ukTel: 01792 295270