On an overall basis, although the majority of British Columbians (74%) are doing an ‘excellent’ (25%) or ‘good’ (49%) on an emotional or personal level, there is a worrisome number who are doing ‘fair’ (22%) or ‘poor’ (4%) in dealing with the COVID-19 situation.
Vancouver, BC —In a COVID-19 era of social distancing and social isolation, a new Insights West poll conducted recently with 817 BC residents shows that people are experiencing higher levels of worry, stress, boredom, anxiety and loneliness compared to before the pandemic, but at the same time they are also creating stronger bonds with their family and friends during this challenging time.
Mental health issues and the spinoff impacts of that are creating a whole new world of concern in this pandemic world, as British Columbians are experiencing much higher levels of stress and other related emotions relative to prior to the pandemic. Worry is most common, as 62% of British Columbians feeling more worried than what they usually are—including 20% who are ‘much more worried’ and 42% who are ‘a little more worried’. Stress levels are also sky high as 59% are either ‘much more stressed’ (21%) or ‘a little more stressed’ (38%). An equal number (59%) report feeling more boredom than ever before (32% ‘a little more’ and 27% ‘much more’). Anxiety levels are just as high, as the majority (57%) feel more anxiety than usual (40% are ‘a little more anxious’ and 17% are ‘a lot more anxious’). And despite our poll last week showing that most BC residents are actually socializing with friends and family more than they were prior to the crisis, (LINK), there are still 43% of us who are feeling more lonely (27% ‘a little more lonely’ and 16% ‘much more lonely’) than before.
Of critical interest in these findings is that women have been experiencing these emotions at a significantly higher rate than men; on average, about 10 points higher (except for boredom, where both genders are about the same). The differences are even larger when it comes to age groups, as younger British Columbians are taking the brunt of these emotions. For example, 73% of 18-34-year old’s are feeling more stress relative to a much lower 59% of 35-44 year old’s, or 47% of the 55+ group. It is also of significance to note that essential workers are much more likely to be feeling stress, worry and loneliness than those who are not working or who are working from home—numbers are anywhere from 10 points to 20 points higher for this group.
“Our last poll delved into the daily activities that have changed as a result of the COVID 19 crisis, but this is the first time we have looked at how this has made people feel, and how they are coping” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West. “The results show the dramatic effect that this pandemic has had on the overall mental health and well-being of British Columbians, and it has been significant.”
An interesting side effect of this dramatic change in our work and personal lives and our day-to-day activities is the extent to which relationships have improved or worsened as a result of our social distancing. The good news is that for the most part, the crisis has had a net positive impact on relationships. The most dramatic impact has been with parents and children as 30% of parents feel their relationship with their children is better compared to only 8% who say it is worse. In a similar vein, about 28% of those in a spouse/partnership relationship say that this crisis has made their relationship better, vs. only half that number (14%) who say it has made it worse. Over one-quarter (27%) indicate the relationship they have with their parents is better, and a slightly smaller number reports better relationships with their friends (22%). Only the work relationship may not be positively impacted overall; the proportion whose relationships are better with their co-workers (18%) is nearly equal to that whose relationships are worse (14%). Age cohorts that have been more negatively impacted emotionally (18-34’s) are more likely to report that relationships have improved (across the board—the proportion reporting improved relationships are about double that of other age categories).
The net impact of the dramatic change in our lifestyles, activities, work and social interactions as a result of this pandemic is that despite the fact that the majority of British Columbians are coping well, there is a significant number who are hurting. While the majority (74%) of BC residents rate the job they are doing in coping with the COVID-19 situation on an emotional or personal level as ‘good’ (49%) or ‘excellent’ (25%), the fact remains that there is a significant minority (26%) who say they are doing ‘fair’ (22%) or ‘poor’ (4%). And once again, certain segments are hurting more than others—including females (31% ‘poor’ or ‘fair’ versus 21% of males), 18-34’s (36% ‘poor’ or ‘fair’ versus 26% of 35-54’s and 18% of those 55+).
“The emotional burden on individuals in our Province has been dramatic, which is why we are seeing these kinds of numbers” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West. “To see one quarter of the population not coping well, and the majority of us feeling more stress, anxiety and worry shows that this pandemic has impacted us far beyond the physical and financial level. If there is one bright light in this pandemic is that for the most part, it has drawn us closer to our families and friends during this difficult time.”
About Insights West:
Insights West is a full-service marketing research firm based in Western Canada. Since 2012, the company has conducted over one million surveys, executed 2,000 studies, and issued over 350 press releases on a variety of topics, correctly predicting the outcomes of 24 out of 25 elections and plebiscites. Insights West is a team of passionate, truth-seeking researchers who question everything to uncover the truth and what is emerging for a diverse set of clients. With an understanding of shifting markets, consumer and societal trends, and commitment to uncovering truths through a proprietary toolkit and innovative research approaches, Insights West helps organizations make better decisions.
About this Release:
Results are based on an online study conducted from April 9, 2020 to April 12, 2020 among a sample of 817 BC residents. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click HERE to view the detailed data tabulations.
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