Researchers from the School of Psychology at the University of Aberdeen are taking part in a global study investigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on emotional wellbeing and resilience.
The study will also use insights from psychology to support public health advice like handwashing and wearing face coverings.
Dr Clare Sutherland is leading the University’s contribution to The Psychological Science Accelerator’s Rapid-Response Covid-19 Project, an unprecedented global, multinational research collaboration which aims to understand the psychological and behavioural aspects of the Covid-19 crisis.
Spanning more than 500 research labs from over 70 countries, The Psychological Science Accelerator is the largest network of psychology labs in the world and this project has been formed to rapidly obtain informative, impactful, timely knowledge about the behavioural aspects of Covid-19.
Over 22 thousand people from all over the world have already taken part in the study which has been translated into 38 languages.
Primarily, the aim of the project is to provide people with psychological strategies to increase resilience and decrease anxiety when thinking about the pandemic.
However, the researchers will also examine strategies like hand washing and social distancing to encourage people to promote healthy behaviours.
The results of the project will provide guidance into how public officials, health professionals and others can communicate more effectively about the pandemic.
Dr Sutherland explains:
“The Covid-19 pandemic is likely increasing negative emotions and decreasing positive emotions globally.
“Left unchecked, these emotional changes may have a wide array of adverse impacts.
“In this project, in three studies running simultaneously, we are hoping to increase psychological resilience and decrease anxiety around the pandemic.
“We are also examining strategies to promote healthy behaviours.
“Here in Aberdeen my role in the project is in recruitment and data collection.
“We are hoping to recruit as many people as we can.
“Our study will help find real-world psychological solutions to help increase resilience and decrease pandemic anxiety.
“We will also use the results to inform policy makers and the media about the best way to report on the pandemic.
“Finally, the study represents one of the largest sets of data on how people think and behave in a pandemic situation, which will allow robust tests of leading psychological theories.
“Large-scale, multi-lab collaborations are increasingly being used to understand serious problems related to behavioural science.
“As an international network, the PSA is able to deploy large, internationally distributed resources and expertise to behavioural science problems – a feature that is a particular asset when confronting truly unprecedented global problems, like Covid-19.
“These are very difficult times but I think it is really exciting to see how people are pitching together from across the world with the hope of creating effective responses.”