On Monday, we completed a comprehensive survey on how Canadians are feeling and reacting to the COVID-19 outbreak. Over the next few days, we will be releasing findings from that study. In this bulletin, we explore the anxiety caused by the epidemic.
How worried are Canadians?
75% are following news or information about the outbreak either closely, and 69% are worried. 40% say they are worried a lot or extremely worried (about 12 million Canadian adults). Men, especially younger men, are less concerned than women.
What are the mental health impacts?
75% report feeling anxious, 37% feel lonely, and 32% say they are having a hard time falling asleep because of COVID-19.
Are Canadians prepared?
Most Canadians (77%) feel they are at least mostly prepared if they are required to self-isolate for 14 days. In the event of a full, mandatory lock-down, like in Italy, most continue to say they are mostly prepared (71%), but 29% say they are only a little prepared (21%) or not at all prepared (8%).
According to Bruce Anderson:
"No one in Canada has experience with a situation like this – where financial collapses surround us, and the prospect of a health system collapse looms large. Isolation means people are consuming large amounts of information about the crisis, which is helping them prepare, but also driving high levels of anxiety and making it clear that economic health, physical health but also mental health will be challenges for the country in the days ahead."
According to David Coletto:
"It’s clear that the COVID-19 outbreak is unprecedented on so many levels. The level of attention Canadians are paying to the issue, the deep seated and broad concern people have, and the uncertainty around how long it will disrupt their lives.
Our data also points to a growing mental health impacts. Millions report not being able to sleep well, feeling lonely and anxious, while some have even considered turning off the news because of how it makes them feel. The impact is broad and deep. Most troubling is the varied reaction among different groups of Canadians. Men, especially young men, are less concerned. They are less likely to be distancing themselves from others, and less likely to think the epidemic will last for longer.
As a rapidly evolving issue, perceptions and views will undoubtedly change, but the big picture of our state of mind is profoundly concerning. Canadians are feeling anxious, worried, and uncertain about how this will turn out. Most still feel the worst is ahead of us, and many are unprepared to self-isolate or be locked down.”
Our survey was conducted online with 2,309 Canadians aged 18 and over from March 20 to 24, 2020. A random sample of panellists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews inthe data from a single source.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the samesize is +/- 2.1%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
STUDY CONDUCTED BY ABACUS DATA
Abacus Data is the only research and strategy firm that helps organizations respond to the disruptive risks and opportunities in a world where demographics and technology are changing more quickly than ever.
They are an innovative, fast-growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. They use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research-based advice to our clients. They offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value. They were one of the most accurate pollsters conducting research during the 2019 Canadian Election.