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Public attitudes to coronavirus: May summary

This report includes some high level findings from recent polling work on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland. A report covering earlier survey work was published on 8 May 2020.

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3. Wellbeing

Levels of anxiety and happiness

The YouGov survey included two of the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) wellbeing questions[2] 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 9, anxiety levels have remained stable and relatively high since the end of April. However, as reported previously, anxiety levels at the end of March were much higher with 60% feeling highly anxious (score of 6-10)[3].

Figure 9: How anxious respondents felt yesterday on a scale of 0-10
This chart shows how anxious respondents reported that they felt ‘yesterday’ on a scale of 0-10 at five time points: April 28-29, May 5-6, May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. A response of between six and ten is considered ‘high’. Between 35% and 37% of respondents said this across the time points shown, with 35% reporting high levels of anxiety at the most recent time point.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1037)

As shown in Figure 10, the majority of respondents reported high or very high levels of happiness (score of 7-10), and this has increased slightly since the end of April. Just under one in five felt very low levels of happiness (score of 0-4), which has remained stable over the past month but was higher at the end of March (34%)[4].

Figure 10: How happy respondents felt yesterday on a scale of 0-10
This chart shows how happy respondents reported that they felt ‘yesterday’ on a scale of 0-10 at five time points: April 28-29, May 5-6, May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. A response of between zero and six is considered ‘medium’ or ‘low’. On April 28-29, 48% of respondents reported medium or low levels of happiness. This had fallen to 42% by May 26-27.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1037)

Coping and worries

To understand worries in relation to Coronavirus, respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statements shown in Figure 11. The majority agreed that they felt worried about the Coronavirus situation and this has remained relatively stable since the end of April. However, as previously reported, the proportion who agreed with this statement at the end of March was higher at 80%[5]. Three quarters of respondents agreed that they were coping okay with the current coronavirus situation, which has remained stable throughout the month.

Figure 11: Proportion of respondents who agreed/strongly agreed with each statement about coping and worry
This graph shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or agreed strongly with two statements shown at five time points: April 28-29, May 5-6, May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. The first statement is ‘I feel like I’m coping okay during the current coronavirus situation’. Between 73% and 76% of respondents agreed/agreed strongly with this across the time points shown, with 76% agreeing/strongly agreeing at the most recent time point. The second statement is ‘I feel worried about the coronavirus situation’. Between 64% and 70% of respondents agreed/agreed strongly with this across the time points shown, with 64% agreeing/strongly agreeing at the most recent time point.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1037)

Respondents were asked at the start and end of May how worried they were about a range of issues in relation to restrictions being lifted. At the end of the month, respondents were most likely to be very or fairly worried about a second spike in infections, using public transport and going back to their place of work (among those working from home, furloughed or laid off). Parents were also likely to be worried about their children going back to school. However, the proportions worried about each concern fell between the survey waves.

Figure 12 Proportion who are very or fairly worried about each concern shown [6]
This chart shows the proportion of respondents who are very or fairly worried about a number of concerns related to Coronavirus, at two time points: May 5-6 and May 26-27. At both time points, the most common concerns respondents reported being very/fairly worried about were ‘a second spike in infections coming when the government starts to lift the lockdown restrictions’, ‘my children going back to school’ and ‘going back into the workplace’. However, for each concern the proportion of respondents who reported being very/fairly worried fell between the two time points. Concern about using public transport was only asked at the most recent time point, with 66% reporting being very/fairly worried about this.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1036)

Optimism

The majority agreed that they find it is getting easier living with restrictions as they get used to it, and this has remained stable since the end of April. In the most recent survey wave, over half of respondents agreed that things will start to get better soon, an increase since the middle of May.

Figure 13 Proportion of respondents who agreed/strongly agreed with each statement about the current restrictions [7]
This graph shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or agreed strongly with two statements. The first statement is ‘I’m finding that it’s getting easier living with restrictions as I get used to it’ and is shown at four time points: April 28-29, May 5-6, May 12-13 and May 19-20. Between 58% and 60% agreed/strongly agreed with this statement, with 58% agreeing at the most recent time point. The second statement is ‘I’m sure things will start to get better soon’ and is shown at five time points: April 28-29, May 5-6, May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. The proportion who agreed/agreed strongly with this statement increased from 42% at the first time point to 56% at the most recent time point.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1037)

Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot

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