Over 20 per cent population increase their 'faith in God' during COVID-19 lockdown: Study

Interestingly, 50.1 per cent pointed out no change in their faith towards God with 4.4 per cent saying that they slight felt loss of their faith while 4 per cent felt significant loss in their faith i

Published: 05th August 2020 12:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th August 2020 12:24 PM   |  A+A-

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For representational purposes

Express News Service

DEHRADUN: A joint study by Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, AIIMS-Rishikesh and 15 other eminent medical institutions revealed that about 21.2 per cent of the people reported significant increase in faith in God while 18.3 per cent felt slight increase in the faith in Almighty. 

Interestingly, 50.1 per cent pointed out no change in their faith towards God with 4.4 per cent saying that they slight felt loss of their faith while 4 per cent felt significant loss in their faith in God. "About one-third to about three-fifth of the participants reported slight or marked increase in activities such as exercise, faith in God, watching movies, internet gaming, playing indoor games, sexual activity, reading books, painting, cooking, and cleaning," said the study led by Professor Sandeep Grover, psychiatry department, PGIMER, Chandigarh. 

The study, conducted from April 6-24, 2020 aimed to evaluate the psychological impact of lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic on the general public with an objective to assess the prevalence of depression, anxiety, perceived stress, well-being, and other psychological issues was an online survey conducted under the aegis of the Indian Psychiatry Society. 

During the survey, a total of 1871 responses were collected, of which 1685 (90.05 per cent) responses were analyzed.

Using the Survey Monkey platform, a survey link was circulated using the Whatsapp the questionnaire of which was translated into 11 Indian languages (Hindi, Odia, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujrati, and Urdu) besides being used in English included perceived stress scale, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale to assess perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and mental well-being, respectively. 

The study also revealed that 61.8 per cent of people reported marked improvement in their relationship with their neighbors and 59.6 per cent with their office colleagues during the lockdown period. 

Out of total participants, 47.4 per cent people reported marked improvement in their relationships with their spouse/partner (47.4 per cent), children (44.2 per cent), and with parents (47.3 per cent) after the beginning of lockdown period stated the study.

The study, highlighting the fact that the present survey suggests that more than two fifths of the people are experiencing common mental disorders, due to lockdown and the prevailing COVID 19 pandemic, the experts who conducted the study concluded that there is a need for expanding mental health services to everyone in the society during this pandemic situation.

The mean age of the participants (1653 responses) was 41.26 (SD: 13.67) years. About three-fifths of the participants (63.7 per cent) were male, about three-fourth were married (72.6 per cent), three-fifth had completed postgraduation (61.8 per cent), majority were employed (self-employed/employed in government sector or private sector) (78.9 per cent). 

With regard to profession, slightly less than half of the responders (47.1 per cent) were health-care workers (HCWs). 

In terms of current level of working during lockdown, about one-fifth of responders (21.1 per cent) were not going to work and rest were either working from home for few hours (17.7 per cent) or for usual hours (8.5 per cent) and some were going for work for few hours (16.6 per cent)

About two fifth (38.2 per cent) had anxiety and 10.5 per cent of the participants had depression. Overall, 40.5 per cent of the participants had either anxiety or depression. Moderate level of stress was reported by about three-fourth (74.1 per cent) of the participants and 71.7 per cent reported poor well-being.

In the present study, in general, majority of the participants reported positive impact of the lockdown on the relationship dimension in terms of relationship with parents, children, spouse, colleagues, and neighbors. 

"The improved relationship could be attributed to the availability of more free time, less work pressure and possible fulfillment of long desired free time, stated the experts in the study. However, the improved relationship dimensions could also be attributed to the fact that, when everyone is fighting a common enemy, the interpersonal relationship issues are forgotten, which is possibly reflected as improved relationships," the study stated. 

Another explanation for the improved relationship could be a fear of death, which often makes people perceive themselves as weak, and hence, have less initiative to fight with others, said experts in the study. 


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