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4008 people across 23 countries worldwide have signed up to research that explores the psychological impacts of COVID-19.
An international consortium of researchers is in the midst of exploring how compassion can help reduce pandemic-related stress with the first round of data results to be reviewed in the coming months.
The Australian study co-lead author, Dr Stan Steindl co-director of Psychology Consultants practice and The University of Queensland’s School of Psychology, said people worldwide simultaneously were feeling the effects in different ways.
“The pandemic itself brings fear and anxiety, as does the loneliness of staying distant from loved ones, and stress about job loss and financial insecurity,” Dr Steindl said.
“While these experiences are universal, different political and health systems and economic factors create varying experiences for us all.
“We are thrilled with the research recruitment process and thank those who have generously given their time to share their experience with us”.
“The global research allows us to understand the commonalities and differences of experiences across a broad cross section of socio-demographic and geographic areas”.
Dr Steindl said the questionnaire which assesses participants three times across a series of months, asks people to reflect on their psychological wellbeing, and how their experiences of living through the pandemic continued to change and develop.
“We are particularly interested in how people can stay connected, have a sense of care, support, safeness and belonging during these times, and how confident they feel returning to various aspects of social connectedness as time goes on,” Dr Steindl said.
“Over the coming months, it will be very interesting to assess the effects of ‘second waves’ as people may start to feel disheartened and despondent that the virus has not gone away whilst dealing with the impact of return to lock down and associated financial pressures.
“Interpreting the data will enable us to develop models to provide recommended strategies people can use to better cope, survive and thrive through a pandemic.
“The study will add to the body of work around compassion and its effect on managing stress and trauma.
“Given the enormity of what the world is going through due to COVID-19 and restrictions placed on us to manage it, we appreciate the contribution people are making by participating in and sharing this study.”