Negative views were widespread during lockdown – study – RTE.ie

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Meáin Náisiúnta Seirbhíse Poiblí na hÉireann
Health Correspondent
New research carried out by the mental health charity Aware, analysing the general population's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has found negative views were widespread during the peak of the strictest restrictions this year.
The study found that people had a negative view of themselves, the world, and other people.
However, it also highlights that positive thoughts and emotions, such as empathy, compassion and gratitude, were protective of mental health.
The study led by Aware board member and Assistant Professor and Senior Clinical Psychologist at UCD, Dr Keith Gaynor, shows that in a time of global threat, negative feelings and beliefs may be "realistic, appropriate and normal".
Dr Gaynor said: "What our research found was that negative thoughts were pretty universal. Having negative thoughts during a pandemic is a pretty normal, natural reaction."
The research was carried out between December 2020 and February 2021, during one of the longest periods of lockdown in the country, and aimed to explore cognitive responses to the pandemic.
It surveyed a sample of 555 adults who were asked to complete open text questions which began with prompts.
As part of the research process, participants also completed a measure of depression, anxiety and stress.

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Yesterday, the head of the Economic and Social Research Institute's behavioural research unit said it found there has been an increase in worry in recent weeks across all age groups, genders and socio-economic groups.
Professor Pete Lunn said this tended to be driven by case numbers in the past, but there was a break in the relationship between how much people worried and how high the case numbers were when the vaccine was rolled out.
However, he added that as hospitalisations have gone up and as restrictions are being reintroduced, they can see the level of concern has gone back up.
"It's back up now at the level that it was when we came out of the so-called Level 5 lockdown in April/May," he said.
Prof Lunn said they have not seen a large reduction in how much people are leaving their homes or how many people they are meeting, but they have seen a "real increase" in people's caution when they are out.
He also said they have seen a reduction in people visiting other people's homes, which he said is likely to have an impact on infection levels.
"So we have seen some behaviour change," he said. "It's not as big as it might be, but it's definitely there."
Elsewhere, the latest figures from the Department of Health show the number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital has reduced by 31 to 505.
The number of patients in ICU with the virus has increased by seven to 117 today.
Yesterday, the Department was notified of 2,950 further coronavirus cases.

Health Correspondent
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