More tension in relationships

415,000 people took part in third wave of UAntwerp’s Big Corona Study University

The weekly UAntwerp corona study shows that, among other things, 6% of families still have to work out a practical arrangement for the Easter holidays. Participants also report that in the third week of ‘lockdown light’, tensions with their partners and children have increased.

Tuesday saw the third wave of the Big Corona Study of the University of Antwerp. Between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., all Belgians were again asked to complete the online questionnaire. They did so in huge numbers: in the end, the counter stopped at 415,000 fully completed questionnaires. Last week, 346,000 people took part. This clear increase indicates that the scientists’ message was received: they insist on the importance of weekly participation.

‘It’s important that the participants complete the questionnaire on a weekly basis’, Prof. Philippe Beutels explains. ‘Science really needs this data. We want to know how the population is coping with the crisis, not least to be able to predict the further evolution of the epidemic, to help the hospitals assess what is to come, and to monitor the population’s welfare.’

Initial findings

Of course, a lot of time is needed to thoroughly analyse the results. But within a few hours, the researchers distilled some findings from the enormous amount of data:

-          95% of respondents did not shake hands or kiss non-household members in the past week. Still, more than 23,000 participants did.

-          On 24 March, 17% of employed participants said they did not work from home. 13% of the people who don’t work from home said that they felt they were doing this without sufficient precautions. On 31 March, 18.5% of employed respondents were not working from home. 83% of these people report that it isn’t because of the job. 14% of these people say they work without sufficient precautions.

-          The Easter holidays are just around the corner. 6% have no arrangements for childcare yet. 80% kept the same arrangement as the previous weeks, 14% worked out a different arrangement.

-          Compared to last week, more people are feeling less good about themselves. Last week, this was especially true for highly educated people, now also for lower educated people.

-          Compared to last week, participants report experiencing relationship problems slightly more: an increase from 15 to 27%. Participants also indicate that there is tension in the relationship with adolescents (children between the ages of 12 and 18).

-          This week, the researchers also wanted to find out what the participants think about apps that could be used during the corona crisis. Such an app could then, for example, use mobile phone signals to signal when someone comes close to an infected person. Only half of participants would like to use such an app. 80% of those who do not see this as appropriate have strong concerns about privacy and data sensitivity.