Publication - Research and analysis

Public attitudes to Coronavirus: November update

Published: 20 Nov 2020

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

31 page PDF

2.6 MB

31 page PDF

2.6 MB

Contents
Public attitudes to Coronavirus: November update
3. Wellbeing

31 page PDF

2.6 MB

3. 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 Coronavirus and the pandemic response 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 14, the proportion who felt lonely all, almost all, or most of the time increased between September to mid-October. Around one third of people experienced loneliness some of the time in the past week, and this has remained stable during September and October. This means that the proportion of respondents who experienced loneliness at least some of the time in the past week increased, from 46% in early September to 52% in late October.

Figure 14: How often respondents felt lonely during the past week
Chart description below

Chart description

Bar chart with four bars. Each bar shows the proportion of respondents who answer they felt lonely ‘all, almost all, or most of the time’, ‘some of the time’ or ‘none or almost none of the time’. Those reporting loneliness ‘some of the time’ remains stable 31% to 34%, while the proportion experiencing it ‘none of the time’ (45%) is lower and ‘all of the time’ (18%) higher in the latest wave than the first wave.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1000-1018)

The survey included two of the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) wellbeing questions[7] 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 15, anxiety levels have remained stable and relatively high during September and October, with around two fifths reporting high anxiety.

Figure 15: How anxious respondents felt yesterday on a scale of 0-10
Chart description below

Chart description

Bar chart with four bars. Each bar shows the proportion of respondents who reported ‘high’, ‘medium’, ‘low’ or ‘very low’ anxiety. These remain stable over the four waves, with very low 17% to 18%, low 22% to 24%, medium 20% to 23%, and high 36% - 39%.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1000-1018)

As shown in Figure 16, the majority of respondents reported high or very high levels of happiness (score of 7-10), although the proportion reporting high levels fell slightly between early September and late October. Around one in five felt low levels of happiness (score of 0-4), which has been stable since May.[8]

Figure 16: How happy respondents felt yesterday on a scale of 0-10
Chart description below

Chart description

Bar chart with four bars. Each bar shows the proportion of respondents who reported ‘very high’, ‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘low’ happiness. These remain stable over the four waves, with very high 12% to 14%, high 39% to 44%, medium 24% to 28%, and low 18% to 20%.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1000-1018)

Coping, worries and optimism

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statements shown below. As shown in Figure 17, over two thirds agreed that they feel like they are coping okay during the Coronavirus situation, however just under four in ten agreed that they are worried about the effect of the latest restrictions on their mental health. 

Figure 17: Proportion who agreed/agreed strongly to the statements shown
Chart description below

Chart discription

Line chart with two lines. The first line shows the proportion who agreed they feel like they are coping okay (which is 71% in the first wave and after stays between 66% and 67%), and the second showing the proportion who agreed they are worried about the effect of the latest restrictions on their mental health (which stays between 37% and 39%).

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1000-1018)

The proportion who agreed that they are worried about the Coronavirus situation has remained high and stable in September and October, however the proportion who strongly agreed has increased since the beginning of September.

Figure 18: Proportion who agreed/agreed strongly with the statement ‘I feel worried about the Coronavirus situation’
Chart description below

Chart description

Bar chart with nine bars. Each bar shows the proportion who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement. The proportion of those who strongly agree within this increases from 17% to 25% in the latest wave, although total worry has not varied.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1000-1053)

Levels of optimism decreased in the first week of September. Since then the proportion who agreed with this statement that they are sure that things will start to get better soon has remained around one fifth. Levels of optimism during September and October were lower than at the beginning of the March lockdown.[9]

Figure 19: Proportion who agreed/agreed strongly with the statement ‘I’m sure that things will start to get better soon’
Chart description below

Chart description

Bar chart with nine bars. Each bar shows the proportion who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement. The proportion who strongly agreed remains at 3% and 4%, but the proportion who disagreed is fluctuates between 15% and 23%. 

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1000-1053)


Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot