Analysis of the first sample of replies to the citizens’ questionnaire on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

- Campus Can Ruti, Research

On 3 April, during full confinement in Spain, researchers of the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit (UTE) of the IGTP set up the questionnaire in order to study the effects of the pandemic on individuals and the population as a whole. The project is an initiative to fight against COVID-19 of the SMA-TB Project, led by Dr Cristina Vilaplana of the IGTP and being carried out by the IGTP and the company Anaxomics. As well as the UTE, which is also a member of CIBERES and is the leader in the project, IGTP researchers and members of the CIBEReHD group Dr Maria Rosa Sarrias and Dr Carolina Armengol are also taking part. They are joined by Pau Benito, a medical student at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), who has been collaborating with the IGTP for the last two years on projects focussing on the psychological and social aspects of infectious diseases; and Dr Jose A. Muñoz-Moreno, Clinical and Health Psychologist with the Fight AIDS Foundation.

The analysis focuses on a quantitative study to associate different markers in order to measure various aspects related to quality of life, social context and emotional impact of the subjects. Researchers will start with the first block of replies and carry out a descriptive statistical calculation; grouping results for the general population and for a subgroup of health workers. The replies will also be classified by gender and age and percentages of the replies will be grouped according to several scales such as: socio-economic problems, subjective state of individuals and total emotional impact. This last point is more focussed on mental health and will evaluate signs of depression, anxiety, stress and post-traumatic syndrome.

"The results of the study and the indicators we can take from it, will be of great use in understanding attitudes and measuring the psychological impact on the population. This is essential to be able to design and implement short and mid-term public health interventions in the future," explains Cristina Vilaplana, who is leading the study. In the particular case of mental health, "it will permit us to identify if there is a percentage of risk, which will help us to identify vulnerable sectors and those who need attention and protection," she continues.

As second round of results in September

The questionnaire remains open as there is a proposal to evaluate the different phases of the pandemic situation. The projected duration of the project is 12 months, with the first results in the first month, which are being prepared now. The following instalments of results are expected in 3 and 9 months, with follow up results. "You can answer the questionnaire more than once, and we encourage people to do it, this way we will get a picture of the different periods of the episode and be able to evaluate how attitudes have changed, according to the policies implemented, or in relation to the news, for example," adds Vilaplana.

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