Publication - Research and analysis

Public attitudes to Coronavirus: January update

Published: 29 Jan 2021

This report includes some high level findings from recent polling work on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

Public attitudes to Coronavirus: January update
2. Wellbeing

2. Wellbeing

Levels of loneliness, anxiety and happiness

The Coronavirus pandemic is having a wide range of impacts on personal wellbeing. This section presents polling data about the impacts of the pandemic on feelings such as happiness, loneliness, optimism and anxiety.

To understand social isolation, respondents were asked how much of the time during the past week they had felt lonely. As shown in Figure 6, the proportion who felt lonely at least some of the time (around one half of respondents) has remained relatively stable in November and December.[2]

Figure 6: How often respondents felt lonely during the past week

Stable, 46%-50% none of the time, 31%-35% some of the time, 14%-16% all/most of the time

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1009-1020)

The survey included two of the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) wellbeing questions[3] to measure levels of anxiety and happiness. Respondents were asked how anxious, and how happy, they felt 'yesterday', on a scale of 0 to 10. As shown in Figure 7, anxiety levels have remained stable and relatively high throughout November and December, with around two fifths reporting high anxiety.

Figure 7: How anxious respondents felt yesterday on a scale of 0-10

Stable, 16%-20% very low, 22%-23% low, 20%-22% medium, 36%-40% high

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1009-1020)

As shown in Figure 8, around half or slightly more of respondents reported high or very high levels of happiness (score of 7-10), and this has remained relatively stable in November and December. Around one in five felt low levels of happiness (score of 0-4), which has been stable since May.[4]

Figure 8: How happy respondents felt yesterday on a scale of 0-10

Stable, 16%-21% low, 27%-29% medium, 39%-42% high, 11%-15% very high

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1009-1020)

Coping, worries and optimism

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, 'I feel like I am coping okay during the current Coronavirus situation'. As shown in Figure 9, around seven in ten agreed that they feel like they are coping okay.

Figure 9: Proportion who agreed to the statement 'I feel like I am coping okay during the current Coronavirus situation'

Remained stable at 69%-71% who agreed

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1009)

The proportion who agreed that they are worried about the Coronavirus situation has remained high yet fluctuated slightly in November and December, with particularly strong agreement at the end of December.

Figure 10: Proportion who agreed with the statement 'I feel worried about the Coronavirus situation'

This fluctuated slightly. 15%-24% strongly agree, 43%-49% tend to agree

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1020)

Levels of optimism (measured by the proportion who agree that things will start to get better soon) increased from a quarter at the start of November to over half in the second week of December. Since then, they has decreased to around a third. Levels of optimism at the end of 2020 are at similar levels to the beginning of the March 2020 lockdown.[5]

Figure 11: Proportion who agreed with the statement 'I'm sure that things will start to get better soon'

This fluctuated slightly, starting at 23% and finishing at 35%

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1020)

Childcare

With delayed returns to school announced, respondents with children aged 0-17 years were asked at the end of December the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with a range of statements about schooling and childcare. Almost two thirds of respondents agreed that they were worried about the impact of the changes to school and nursery opening on their child or children's mental health. Over half were worried about schools and nurseries staying closed beyond 18 January.

Figure 12: Proportion who agreed with the statements shown

64% worried about children’s mental health, 57% about schools and nurseries staying closed

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey (29-30 Dec). Base Scottish parents with children aged 0-17 (n=124-178)


Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot