Coronavirus (COVID-19): mental health tracker study - wave 1 report

Findings of wave 1 of the Scottish COVID-19 (SCOVID) Mental Health Tracker Study based on questionnaire data collected between 28 May and 21 June 2020 (a period which coincided with the Phase 1 easing of lockdown measures).

This document is part of a collection


4. COVID-19 Contextual Factors

This section provides an overview of respondents' experiences of, and views on, COVID-19 containment measures during the lockdown period from the 28th May to 21st June 2020. Questions in the Wave 1 SCOVID Mental Health Tracker Study questionnaire assessed people's experiences during this lockdown period in order to provide an understanding of the context within which respondents were living while they responded to the mental health and wellbeing focussed questions at the centre of this report. Tracking these contextual factors may be useful in understanding whether particular factors are correlated with certain mental health outcomes as findings from subsequent waves of this tracker study are gathered. These 'context' questions included queries such as whether respondents had contracted COVID-19 or knew someone who had COVID-19, sample respondents' concerns about COVID-19 and the emotional impact caused by COVID-19, as well as their lifestyle circumstances, and activities. The following sections provide an overview of the findings, however more detailed data on these items can be found in the annex of this report.

4.1 COVID-19 related experiences

In the whole sample, less than 1% (0.8%) of respondents reported that they had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 6.8% reported that they were not diagnosed but suspected they had had COVID-19. The majority of this group (85.5%) reported self-isolating as a result of their symptoms. 12.0% of respondents reported that they knew someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and 2.6% of respondents reported having lost friends or family members to COVID-19.

4.1.1 Views of COVID-19

Respondents were asked a series of questions about their views, experiences, and behaviours during lockdown, and responses for each question were recorded on a scale of 0 to 10 for how much they endorsed each question, with 0 indicating no endorsement of the statement, and 10 indicating strong endorsement.

Effects of COVID-19

Respondents were asked:

  • How much does Covid-19 affect your life? (On a scale from No affect at all to Severely affects my life);
  • How much does COVID-19 affect you emotionally? e.g. does it make you angry, scared, upset or depressed? (On a scale from Not at all affected emotionally to Extremely affected emotionally)
  • The older age group (60+ years) reported that COVID-19 affected their life less severely and they were less emotionally affected compared to the younger age groups.
  • Women reported feeling that their life had been more severely affected by COVID-19 than men did, as well as reporting higher levels of emotional affect than men did.
  • Respondents in higher SEG reported that their lives had been more affected by COVID-19 than did respondents in the lower SEG. No differences were found for emotional affect by SEG.
  • Respondents from BAME groups and those with a pre-existing mental health condition reported significantly higher emotional impact of COVID-19 than those who identified as White and those with no pre-existing mental health condition.

Concerns about COVID-19

  • Respondents were asked: How concerned are you about COVID-19? (on a scale from Not concerned at all to Extremely concerned)
  • Older adults (60+ years) were most concerned about COVID-19 followed by the age group of 30-59 year olds. Young adults (18-29 year olds) were least concerned about COVID-19.
  • Women were more concerned about COVID-19 than men.
  • Respondents with a pre-existing mental health condition were more concerned about COVID-19 than those with no mental health condition.

Understanding of COVID-19

  • Respondents were asked: How well do you feel you understand COVID-19? (On a scale from Don't understand at all to Understand very clearly)
  • Rates of reported understanding of COVID-19 increased with age, as older adults indicated higher scores than middle-aged adults, who, in turn, scored higher than younger adults.
  • Women reported higher rates of feeling they had clear understanding of COVID-19 than men did.
  • Respondents in the higher SEG and those who identified as White were more likely to report clear understanding of COVID-19 compared to those in the lower SEG and those in the BAME group, respectively.
  • Most respondents indicated they were seeking information on COVID-19, 'less than once a day' (46.6%) or '1-5 times a day' (45.7%).

Control over COVID-19

  • Respondents were asked: How much control do you feel we have over COVID-19? (On a scale from Absolutely no control to Extreme amount of control)
  • More older adults (60+ years) reported feeling that they had lower control over COVID-19 than did younger age groups.
  • More respondents with a pre-existing mental health condition reported feeling that they had lower control over COVID-19 than did those with no pre-existing mental health condition.
  • Respondents were also asked what they felt their chances of getting COVID-19 were compared to others of the same sex and age. Roughly half of respondents (54.5%) felt they had an 'average' chance of contracting COVID-19, just over a fifth felt they had a lower than average (21.0%) chance, and almost a fifth of respondents felt they had a greater than average chance (19.6%).

Necessity of social distancing/lockdown as preventative measures

  • Respondents were asked: How necessary do you think social distancing/lockdown are to help prevent the spread of COVID-19? (On a scale from Not at all necessary to Absolutely essential)
  • Older respondents (60+ years) were more likely to think that the social distancing/lock-down measures were necessary than younger respondents. 18-29 years olds were the least likely to feel that these measures were necessary.
  • Women, respondents in the higher SEG, and those who identified as White, were more likely to report that social distancing and lockdown measures were necessary compared to men, people in the lower SEG, and BAME groups, respectively.

Willingness to contact GP for a non-COVID-19 related health concern

  • Respondents were asked: How willing would you be to contact your GP about a non-COVID-19 related health concern e.g. a new or changing symptom, if you felt you needed it right now? (On a scale from Not willing at all to Extremely willing)
  • The following groups were less likely to contact their GP about a non-COVID-19 related symptom than the sample average:
  • o Young adults (aged 18-29 years);
  • o Respondents from the lower SEG;
  • o Respondents who identified as BAME;
  • o Respondents with a pre-existing mental health condition
  • Men and women were equally likely to contact their GP about a non-COVID-19 related symptom.

Willingness to seek help from a mental health professional

  • Respondents were asked: How willing would you be to seek professional help for your mental health, if you felt you needed it right now? (On a scale from Not willing at all to Extremely willing)
  • Young adults (18-29 year olds), respondents in the lower SEG, and those who identified as BAME indicated they would be less likely to seek professional help for their mental health than those in other age groups, the higher SEG bracket, and White respondents, respectively.

4.1.2 Adherence to Guidelines

Respondents were asked how often they had been following guidelines regarding social distancing and lockdown measures in the two weeks prior to their completion of the Wave 1 questionnaire. These findings are illustrated in Table 4.1. The majority of respondents reported following the restrictions at all times or often. There were no significant differences between subgroups regarding adherence to the government guidelines.

Table 4.1. How often respondents followed Government guidelines
In the past two weeks: Always or often (%) Sometimes (%) Rarely or never (%)
I only went outside for food, health reasons or essential work 72.2 15.4 12.4
If I went out, I always stayed 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people at all times 86.3 7.7 6.0
I always washed my hands as soon as I got home. 85.1 8.9 6.0
I never met others (who were not members of my household), even friends and family. 64.7 15.8 19.4

4.2 General health and lifestyle factors during COVID-19

In order to contextualise the mental health and wellbeing indicators presented in this report, survey respondents were asked several questions about their health, health behaviours, and lifestyle prior to and during the pandemic. This section presents a brief breakdown of these measures, focussing on physical health, sleep, activity levels, and other lifestyle factors. Findings from Wave 1 of the SCOVID Mental Health Tracker Study suggest that respondents felt that their overall health had worsened during the COVID-19 lockdown. The subgroups that appeared to be most impacted were young adults (18-29 years) and those from BAME backgrounds, as they reported worse perceptions of their health compared to the other age groups and those who identified as White.

4.2.1 Perceptions of overall health

As shown in Table G in the annex, almost half (47.2%) of respondents felt that their general health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was 'good', and nearly a quarter (22.9%) of respondents reported their health was either 'very good' or 'fair' before COVID-19. Most respondents reported that their health was also 'very good' or 'good' after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however there was a slight decrease in these categories and an increase across the categories of 'fair', 'poor' or 'very poor'.

Looking more closely at the data, there were some differences in reports on perceived health according to groups categorised by background factors. Respondents in the youngest age group (18-29 years) (13.1%) were more likely to report feeling their health had worsened compared to 30-59 year olds (9.5%) and the 60+ years group (3.9%). However, a higher percentage of 18-29 year olds (6.0%) also reported that their health had slightly improved from pre-COVID-19 compared to 30-59 year olds (2.6%) and 60+ year olds (1.2%). This suggests that those in the youngest age group have the widest spread of perceptions of their overall health, whereas the older age groups were more likely to stay the same (around 'good'). Additionally, just under a fifth (18.2%) of respondents from BAME backgrounds reported feeling that their health was at least slightly worse during the COVID-19 lockdown compared to 9.4% of those from White backgrounds.

4.2.2 Sleep

Sleep is an important factor associated with mental health and wellbeing. Respondents were asked how they felt their sleep quality had been in the week prior to the Wave 1 questionnaire, and this information is illustrated in Figure 4.1. The data indicates that the highest proportion of respondents (36.7%) rated their sleep as 'average', a fifth of respondents rated their sleep as either good (20.7%) or poor (23.3%), and close to a tenth rated their sleep as either very good (9.6%) or very poor (9.6%).

Figure 4.1. Sleep quality in the past week for all respondents.

Chart desciption below

Chart description:

9.6% of the sample indicated that their sleep was very good, 20.7% indicated good sleep, 36.7% indicated average sleep, 23.3% indicated poor sleep, and 9.6% indicated very poor sleep.

A more detailed analysis of the sleep data shows that there were some subgroup differences by background. Specifically, the 60+ years age group were most likely to report having good (25.0%) or very good (12.9%) sleep quality compared to those aged 18-29 years (good 15.3%, very good 7.8%) and those aged 30-59 years (good 20.7%, very good 8.5%). Additionally, respondents in the 60+ years age group were less likely to report poor (20.6%) or very poor sleep (4.5%) compared to the 30-59 year old group (poor 23.1%, very poor 10.1%) and compared to young adults (poor 27.0%, very poor 15.0%).

In addition, as shown in Table I in the annex, sleep quality differed quite starkly among respondents with or without pre-existing mental health conditions. Respondents with pre-existing conditions reported much higher rates of poor sleep than those without a condition. For example, over half (55.2%) of respondents with a pre-existing mental health condition reported having poor or very poor sleep in the past week, compared to 29% of those with no mental health condition. Additionally, only 3% of those with a pre-existing mental health condition reported very good sleep compared to 10.6% of those with no condition.

4.2.3 Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors can have a significant impact upon an individual's mental and physical wellbeing. In Wave 1 of the SCOVID Mental Health Tracker Study respondents were asked about changes in their lifestyle during the COVID-19 lockdown. These lifestyle factors and behaviours included alcohol use, smoking, drug use (other than prescription or over the counter medicines), online gambling, and physical activity over the week prior to answering the Wave 1 questionnaire. Although we do not have pre-Wave 1 data on these lifestyle factors, respondents were asked to indicate whether they felt that they had done these things 'Less than usual', 'About the same' or 'More than usual' in the week prior to the questionnaire, compared to prior to COVID-19. The following section provides a brief overview of these lifestyle factors, noting significant differences by subgroups.

Alcohol

Over a third of the sample (35.6%) reported not drinking alcohol in the past week. Another third (32.7%) said that there had been no change in their drinking in the week prior, while 16.9% reported drinking less than usual and 14.9% of respondents felt they had drunk more than usual.

Smoking

Three quarters (78.6%) of the sample reported not smoking in the week prior. Thirty eight percent (38.2%) of respondents aged 18-29 years old said they had smoked more than usual in the past week compared to 31.9% of 30-59 year olds and 13.2% of the 60+ group. A higher proportion of those in the 18-29 year old group reported smoking less in the past week (15.2%) than either the 30-59 year olds (7.4%) or the 60+ year group (4.4%). Further, more than half of respondents (54.6%) who had pre-existing mental health conditions reported smoking more than usual compared to a quarter (25.3%) of those without pre-existing mental health conditions.

Drugs

The majority of the sample (88.8%) reported not using drugs. 2.5% of the sample reported increased drug use in the week prior compared to their usual usage, while 7.6% reported no change and 1.2% reported decreased use.

Gambling

Most of the sample reported not taking part in online gambling (79.9%). Of respondents who did gamble online, over half (52.3%) reported no change in their gambling in the week prior compared to their usual pattern. Around one third (31.7%) reported gambling less than usual and 16.0% reported gambling more than usual. There were no differences between any of the subgroups on these changes.

Physical Activity

Finally, respondents were asked how many days in a typical week before COVID-19 and in the last week they had engaged in moderate or vigorous physical activity for 15 minutes or more. Overall, respondents reported that their physical activity increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. Specifically, reports of moderate or vigorous activity levels in the week prior increased from a typical pre-COVID-19 levels of just over 2 days per week (mean= 2.2) on average, to just under 3 days per week (mean= 2.78). Men reported engaging in significantly more vigorous physical activity than women did. Additionally, those without a pre-existing mental health condition reported more vigorous activity than those with a pre-existing mental health condition.

4.3 Support network and emotional support

With the COVID-19 lockdown, there was a possibility that people would be isolated from their usual support networks. Wave 1 of the SCOVID Mental Health Tracker Study asked respondents how connected they felt to friends, family, colleagues, and their community during the COVID-19 lockdown. For the purposes of this report, those who reported being quite a bit, moderately or extremely connected were grouped in the category of 'Connected', and those who reported feeling not or a little bit connected were grouped as being 'Not connected'.

Overall, people felt more connected to family and friends, compared to colleagues and community. Those that felt the most connected included:

  • 60+ year olds felt more connected to family, 30-59 year olds felt more connected to colleagues, and young adults (18-29 years) felt more connected to friends.
  • Women felt more connected to family and friends than men did.
  • BAME felt more connected to friends compared to White respondents.
  • Those in the higher SEG felt more connected to friends and colleagues than those in the lower SEG

4.3.1 Support Network

Family and Friends

Looking at the sample as a whole, two thirds of respondents (67.6%) reported feeling connected to their family in the last week and 44.3% said they felt connected to friends. Some differences in feelings of social connectedness to family and friends were found for different groups based on age and sex. Similar levels of feeling connected to family were reported between the age groups, with older people (60+ years) reporting the highest (70.7%), then 18-29 year olds (69.4%) and 30-59 year olds feeling the least connected to family (64.7%). The 30-59 year old group also reported feeling least connected to their friends (40.9%) compared to both young adults, who felt the most connected (53.6%), and older people (42.3%). Further, women were slightly more likely to feel connected to family (70.1%) than men (65.1%), and more women also reported feeling more connected to friends (47.8%) than men (40.3%).

Other background and health factors were related to varying levels of feeling connected to family and friends. For example, respondents from BAME backgrounds were more likely to feel connected to friends (52.8%) than those from White backgrounds (43.8%). Further, those from the lower SEG were less likely to feel connected to friends (41.6%) than those from a higher SEG (46.0%). Finally, respondents with pre-existing mental health conditions were much less likely to feel connected to family (52.1%) compared to respondents with no pre-existing mental health condition (69.9%), and were nearly half has likely to feel connected to friends (28.8% vs. 53.4%).

Colleagues

Across the whole sample, over one fifth (23.4%) felt connected to their colleagues, although this included people who may not work or had been furloughed. Looking at age groups, the 30-59 year olds reported feeling most connected to their colleagues (31.8%) compared to the younger (24.8%) and older (9.3%) age groups. Additionally, men were more likely to feel connected to colleagues (26.7%) than women (20.4%). Looking at connectedness by other background characteristics, those from the higher SEG were more likely to feel connected to colleagues (27.2%) than those from the lower SEG (17.6%), and those with a pre-existing mental health condition felt less connected to colleagues than those without a pre-existing condition (11.8% vs. 25.2%).

Community

Overall, only 18.7% of the sample felt connected to their community. The levels of connection to their community was similar across age groups, with approximately one fifth reporting feeling connected to the community in each age group (18-29 year olds = 17.5%, 30-59 year olds = 19.8% and 60+ year olds = 18.1%). Men and women reported similar levels of feeling connected to their community (women = 18.0%, men = 19.7%). Further, those from the lower SEG were less likely to feel connected to their community (16.7%) than those from the higher SEG (20.1%). Additionally, compared to respondents with no pre-existing mental health condition, respondents with mental health conditions were much less likely to report feeling connected to their community (10.3% v. 20.1%).

4.3.2 Emotional support

To measure sources of emotional support in the Wave 1 SCOVID Mental Health Tracker Study, respondents were asked how frequently in the 6 months prior and how often since the onset of COVID-19 they had sought emotional support from various sources such as family, counsellors, GP, and NHS services. The findings for the whole sample are displayed in Table 4.2 below, with the percentage of people who had made contact with a particular source prior to COVID-19, and during or before the Wave 1 period of this study. Both before and after COVID-19, friends and family were the most used source of support and these levels did not change significantly. Access to a number of sources of support reduced during the COVID-19 lockdown, in particular half as many respondents reported accessing a GP or community health worker for emotional support. Additionally, fewer respondents reported using counselling and therapy services. This suggests that professional and health care sources of emotional support reduced during COVID-19 lockdown, while informal sources of support, such as family and friends, remained about the same.

Table 4.2. Percentage of respondents who used sources of emotional support at least once before and during the COVID-19 lockdown
Source of support 6 months before COVID-19 (%) During COVID-19 (%)
Friends or family 48.7 46.6
Professional counselling or therapy (via telephone, online or face-to-face) 13.7 9.8
GP or community health worker (e.g. health visitor, midwife, pharmacist) 22.6 11.3
NHS 24 111 telephone service 8.1 6.3
NHS Inform website self-help guides 9.8 8.3
Shielding support telephone line - 5.0

Looking at emotional support across groupings by age and sex, there were some differences noted. Two thirds of young adults (66.5%) reported using friends and family for emotional support during COVID-19, followed by 30-59 year olds at nearly half (48.1%). Those aged 60+ reported the lowest rates (28.7%) of using family and friend as support during COVID-19. Additionally, over half of women (54.8%) reported accessing emotional support from family and friends during COVID-19, at a higher rate than men (37.8%). Overall, 18-29 year olds were significantly more likely to have used any of the sources of support, compared to those in the 60+ year group. For example, during COVID-19, 15.2% of young adults accessed NHS 24, compared to 0.9% of the older age group.

Unsurprisingly, respondents with a pre-existing mental health condition were most likely of any of the groups to have been in contact with professional counselling services. Over one-third (35.2%) accessed counselling or therapy in the 6 months before COVID-19, however during the period of the Wave 1 questionnaire this number dropped to 21%. Interestingly, during COVID-19 the shielding group were more likely to have had contact with professional counselling services, with a quarter accessing counselling for emotional support.

In the 6 months before COVID-19, respondents from the BAME group were twice as likely to report having been in contact with professional counselling services (26.8%) than those from White backgrounds (13.0%). Those from the BAME group were also more likely to have been in contact with a GP or community health worker (30.9%) than those from White backgrounds (22.2%), and to use NHS 24 (16.3%) than those from White backgrounds (7.7%). Although the proportion of those in contact with a GP or community health worker decreased during COVID-19 for both BAME (18.7%) and White (11.0%) groups, there was no change in use of NHS 24 for the BAME group (16.2%), whereas use in the White group dropped to 5.8%. It is important to note that the sample size for BAME respondents is quite small, so these findings must be considered carefully.

4.4. Finances pre and during COVID-19

To understand changes in work status and financial security during the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents were asked questions about changes that might have occurred to their employment situation since the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as respondents' perceptions of their financial coping pre COVID-19, and during Wave 1. These factors are being tracked as understanding respondents' financial circumstances over the waves of this study will lend insight into how changes in financial circumstances might correlate with changing mental health indicators.

Of the entire sample, just under half of respondents (48.6%) reported that their job had changed in some way during the COVID-19 pandemic. As displayed in Figure 4.2, working from home (30.2%) or being furloughed (28.4%), and a reduction in paid employment hours (11.8%) were the most commonly reported changes.

Figure 4.2 Changes to job role experienced during COVID-19 pandemic (% of respondents)

Chart description below

Chart description:

30.2% of respondents reported a change in job role to working from home, 28.4% reported being furloughed, and 11.8% reported a reduction in paid employment hours. 8% reported being unable to work due to COVID, and not being paid. 5.8% reported no change in employment house but reduction in pay. 5.6% reported a lost job, and 4.6% reported being unable to work due to COVID-19, but being paid full pay. 4.5% reported an increase in paid employment hours, and 4.1% reported being unable to work due to COVID-19, with reduced pay. 3.1% reported an increase in employment house but no change in pay, and 2.4% reported work adjusted for childcare. 0.7% reported sick leave, 0.7% reported being redeployed, and 0.4% reported unpaid leave.

To assess perceived financial coping before and during COVID-19 in Wave 1 of the SCOVID Mental Health Tracker Study, respondents were asked the following two questions regarding their perceived financial situation: "Thinking about before COVID-19, how well would you say you were managing financially?"; "How well would you say you are managing financially these days?" Responses ranged from 'living comfortably' to 'doing alright', to 'just about getting by', to 'finding it quite difficult' to 'finding it very difficult'.

Pre COVID-19, older people felt more financially secure than other age groups. More specifically, those 60+ were nearly twice as likely to report living comfortably (40.7%) than 18-29 year olds (23.6%) and 30-59 year olds (22.9%), and this older age group was less likely to report finding their financial circumstances quite difficult or very difficult (1.9%) compared to 18-29 year olds (11.4%) and 30-59 year olds (8.5%). During COVID-19, the proportion of people in all age groups who considered themselves to be living comfortably reduced, with 18-29 year olds reducing by 6.4%, 30-59 year olds by 5.6%, and 60+ year olds by 3.6%. Additionally, the proportion of respondents reporting they were finding their financial circumstances quite or very difficult increased for every age group, with those aged 60+ years increasing by 1.3%, those aged 30-59 years by 9.6% and 18-29 year olds by 6.8%. Overall, the younger age groups appeared to experience the most financial impact from the COVID-19 lockdown.

4.5 Trust in others and authorities

Wave 1 of the SCOVID Mental Health Tracker Study assessed perceptions of trust towards others (people and strangers) and the authorities (police, NHS, UK and Scottish governments). Trust is an important indicator of how confident people are in society more widely.

4.5.1 Trust in others

Trust in others was assessed with two statements which respondents were asked to rate their agreement with: 'In general one can trust people' and 'When dealing with strangers it is better to be careful before you trust them'. Response options were 'strongly disagree', 'disagree', 'agree' and 'strongly agree. Two thirds of the sample (66.8%) agreed or strongly agreed that on the whole, people could be trusted.

There were some differences in trust in others by background. For example, just over three quarters (79.8%) of respondents in the 60+ year age group reported feeling that people were generally trustworthy compared to two thirds (66.8%) of 30-59 year olds and 59% of 18-29 year olds. Respondents with no pre-existing mental health conditions were more likely to report feeling that people were generally trustworthy (72.4%) compared to respondents with pre-existing mental health conditions (45.4%).

Just over four fifths of respondents (85.9%) agreed that it was better to be careful when dealing with strangers. Just under one fifth (16.1%) of the young adult respondents (18-29 year olds) disagreed with the sentiment that it is better to be careful of strangers before you trust them, compared to 10.1% of the 30-59 year olds and 7.0% of the 60+ years age groups. More respondents with no pre-existing mental health conditions (11.2%) disagreed with this sentiment compared to 6.9% of respondents with pre-existing mental health conditions.

4.5.2. Trust in authorities

Respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they felt members of the police, NHS, UK Government, and Scottish Government could be trusted.

Police

Over two thirds of respondents (67.7%) said that they trusted the police to some extent and around a third of these respondents reported trusting the police completely. Women were more likely to report trusting the police (72.3%) than men (63.2%). Over three quarters of respondents in the 60+ year old group felt the police were at least somewhat trustworthy (82.4%) compared to 67.1% of 30-59 year olds and half (50.0%) of the 18-29 year olds. Over a third of the youngest age group endorsed not trusting the police very much or at all (36.1%). Respondents with pre-existing mental health conditions were more likely to report not trusting the police (37.6%) than those without pre-existing mental health conditions (20.1%).

NHS

The majority of respondents (89.3%) reported trusting the NHS to some extent and over half (56.7%) of these respondents endorsed trusting the NHS completely. Respondents from the higher SEG groupings were more likely to trust the NHS (91.2%) than those from lower SEGs (86.4%). Over ninety percent (95.2%) of the 60+ year group reported trusting the NHS to some extent compared to 88.9% of 30-59 year olds, and 82.5% of 18-29 year olds. The latter were more likely to report not trusting the NHS (12.1%) than either the 30-59 year old (5.8%) or 60+ age group (2.7%). 12.3% of respondents from BAME backgrounds reported not trusting the NHS very much compared to 6.0% of those from White backgrounds.

UK Government

In terms of trusting the UK government, just under a third of respondents (28.2%) said that they felt the UK government could be trusted to some extent and 60% said they did not trust it at all or did not trust it very much. There were some differences in levels of trust reported by background factors. The 60+ age group were more likely to report trusting the UK government to some extent (37.7%) than respondents in either of the other age groups (30-59 year olds: 25.7%; 18-29 year olds: 21.3%). Young adults (18-29 years) were more likely to report not trusting the UK government to some extent (62.6%) than respondents in the 30-59 year old (62.2%) or 60+ age group (55.2%). Additionally, respondents from BAME backgrounds were more likely to report trusting the UK government to some extent (40.7%) than those from White backgrounds (27.6%). Respondents with pre-existing mental health conditions were more likely to report not trusting the UK government (74.0%) than those without pre-existing mental health conditions (58.2%).

Scottish Government

In terms of trusting the Scottish Government, the pattern was reversed compared to that of the UK government, with nearly two thirds of respondents (63.4%) trusting the Scottish Government to some extent. Approximately a quarter of respondents in the 60+ group, 30-59 year olds (24.9%), and 18-29 year olds (23.8%) reported having little or no trust in the Scottish government (28.2%). Men were slightly more likely to report little or no trust in the Scottish Government (28.8%) compared to women (22.6%). Similarly, women were more likely to report trusting the Scottish Government to some extent (66.4%) compared to men (60.9%). Respondents from BAME backgrounds were more likely to report trusting the Scottish Government at least somewhat (66.1%) than those from White backgrounds (63.3%).

4.6 Interpersonal harm

An area of concern during the COVID-19 lockdown was for individuals who may be at risk of interpersonal harm or abuse. This section gives a brief overview of the findings for questions respondents were asked about their recent experiences of physical harm and bullying or psychological harm in the 2 weeks prior to responding to the Wave 1 questionnaire. Overall, 8% of respondents reported that they had been physically harmed by another person in the prior 2 weeks. Additionally, 11.4% of respondents reported experiences of being bullied, controlled, intimidated or psychologically hurt by somebody else. Particular groups within the sample reported higher rates of interpersonal harm than the sample average:

  • Males reported more physical harm
  • Young adults (18-29 years) reported more physical and psychological harm
  • BAME groups reported higher physical and psychological harm
  • Those in the lower SEG reported higher rates of physical harm
  • Those with a pre-existing mental health condition reported higher psychological harm

Looking at the subgroups, there were some differences in reports of interpersonal harm according to age and sex. Males reported higher rates of physical harm (10%) than females (5.4%). Additionally, a higher proportion of young adults (18-29 years) reported interpersonal harm, with nearly one fifth reporting physical harm (17.9%) and over one fifth reporting psychological harm (21.4%) compared with the older age groups. Indeed, respondents aged 30-59 years still reported roughly 3 times as much physical (6.7%) and psychological (11.6%) harm than those aged 60+ years, who reported the lowest rates of physical (2.3%) or psychological (3.2%) harm. These findings indicated that being male and young increased the likelihood of physical harm, and being young was a risk for psychological harm.

Other background factors were associated with differing rates of physical and psychological harm. For example, over a fifth of respondents from BAME backgrounds reported being physically harmed (22.8%) or psychologically harmed (23%) by someone in the prior 2 weeks, compared to those from White backgrounds of which 7.2% reported physical harm and 10.8% reported psychological harm. Additionally, respondents from the lower SEG reported higher rates of physical harm (9.9%) compared to those from the higher SEG (6.8%). Finally, those with a pre-existing mental health condition reported higher rates of psychological harm (18.5%) than those with no mental health condition (10.3%).

Contact

Email: Social_Research@gov.scot

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