• Julie Eriksen
  • Siri Østerhus
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
The purpose of this study was to investigate what psychological impact the covid-19 pandemic has had on the Norwegian population one year into the pandemic. The serious physical impact has already been established, but less is known about the consequences the pandemic has on people’s psychological well-being. This study therefore sought to investigate the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms, quality of life, work- and social functioning, as well as the correlation between these. We also wanted to uncover which sociodemographic characteristics that mediate psychological well-being, and whether the level of procrastination mediates this as well.

To examine this, we conducted a cross-sectional study by composing an online questionnaire, with mainly quantitative questions and scales. The questionnaire consisted of demographic questions, the HSCL-25 scale for measuring symptoms of anxiety and depression, the WHO-5 scale for measuring wellbeing and quality of life, IPS for measuring level of procrastination, WSAS for work and social adjustment, a question for perceived life satisfaction and two qualitative questions about self-perceived positive and negative experiences during the pandemic. The questionnaire was distributed through the online social media platform Facebook by using SurveyXact.

The survey was open from March 8th to April 7th, resulting in 2919 respondents, 2114 who participated in the quantitative analysis, and 2249 in the qualitative. The statistical analyses show that 60% of our respondents scored above threshold marks for psychological distress. These results in general show a substantial decrease in psychological wellbeing, both compared to before the origin of the covid-19 pandemic and from results published only a few months previous to our study. All scales correlated with each other, and the strongest mediator for both symptoms of depression and anxiety and quality of life was procrastination. More specifically, we find that women, younger adults, singles, people with a physical illness, people with a mental diagnosis and people who procrastinate more show a lower score of
psychological well-being. Four main topics were discovered from our qualitative data: “relational life”, “leisure time”, “work- and school-life” and “well-being”. Both positive and negative experiences within these topics were revealed, suggesting that some people have had positive experiences with the pandemic as well as negative.

Our study is still limited to the fact that it contains possible biases from our methods of collecting data, and that we were unable to collect information about several important aspects of people’s lives. We still argue that our study contributes to the arising attention of the psychological consequences of the pandemic and hope it can be used as empirical evidence for the importance of turning our heads to a new possible repercussion of the covid-19 pandemic: a mental pandemic. Future studies should investigate the mediating effect of resilience factors, different coping mechanisms, various mental illnesses and attempt to obtain data from a larger sample of men. In addition, we ask for general replications of our study to gain empirical evidence to push for the importance of enabling resources to help change the worrying trend of low psychological wellbeing as a result of the pandemic.
Publication date28 May 2021
Number of pages119
ID: 413067147