In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, which entails sudden changes in many areas of life, a pilot study was conducted in the research field "Aging Societies" at TU Dortmund University. The study "Health and Support in Times of Corona" investigated, among others, how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the health situation, as well as the support provided and received by people in middle and later adulthood.
To this end, a quantitative (telephone/internet) survey was conducted at Prof. Dr. Martina Brandt's chair between early May and early July 2020, targeting people in middle and older adulthood. 458 people participated in the survey. In addition, Prof. Dr. Monika Reichert's team conducted guided interviews with experts.
The pilot study was intended to help identify challenges, but also opportunities, posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with regard to social support and health. The goal was to create more publicity for these issues as well. From a scientific point of view, the aim was also to make visible open questions that need to be explored in more depth in future representative studies.
The team would like to thank all the people who participated in the study and all the organizations and actors who supported the recruitment of participants.
Key findings of the quantitative survey
Many respondents avoided necessary medical or therapeutic services during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Life satisfaction decreased while feelings of loneliness increased.
Informal social support services have changed in many cases since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The majority of grandparents refrained from looking after their grandchildren in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fear of infecting others, in particular, has led some respondents to feel that they cannot provide the necessary support to a sufficient degree.
The internet was perceived as helpful for completing tasks and maintaining social contacts if personal internet skills were rated as high.
The telephone was considered more important than the internet for maintaining social contacts.
Prof. Dr. Martina Brandt
Vera Birgel, Franziska Colak, Jana Dreypelcher, Claudius Garten, Miriam Grates, Lisa Jessee, Judith Kaschowitz, Cansel Kepez, Markus Klingel, Nekehia T. Quashie, Fidan Sahin, Alina Schmitz
Prof. Dr. Monika Reichert, Luise Bernhard, Kim Marei Kusserow