Italians’ emotional state of mind during the lockdown

The lockdown measures taken due to the ongoing health emergency are challenging Italians’ morale and emotional state: concern (62%) and a sense of uncertainty (57%) are Italians’ main feelings right now. However, in times of crisis, there is also room for hope, shared by 45% of Italians. Despite the level of trust decreases compared to the beginning of the emergency, the majority of Italians keep trusting the National Health System, hospitals, regional and governmental Presidents. This is what the latest BVA Doxa research on opinions and predictions of Italians in the COVID-19 crisis reveals. In the third and fourth wave of the study, a focus on Italians’ emotional state was included.

The lockdown measures taken due to the ongoing health emergency are challenging Italians’ everyday life: Italians are experiencing a strong sense of uncertainty, decreasing trust and confidence in institutions, and feelings like boredom and stress. All these negative emotions may last and have effects even after the emergency and they cannot be overlooked on a social level. However, Italians prove to be resilient: there is growing hope for a resolution or a change in the upcoming weeks. This is what the latest BVA Doxa research on the main impacts COVID-19 is having on the Italian population reveals. The research is conducted on a representative sample of 1003 Italians during 17-20 April 2020 and it included, among other topics, a focus on Italians’ emotional state during the lockdown. The study began on March the 20th and these results come from the fourth wave of a weekly observatory which keeps analyzing a few topics while adding some new ones as well.

ITALIANS IN QUARANTINE: FAR FROM BEING IN A GOOD MOOD – The longer-than-expected lockdown is challenging Italians’ emotional state. On average, on a scale from 1 to 10, Italians’ mood evaluation only reaches a 5.9: 44% rated their mood from 6 to 7, 22% gave higher mood evaluations (between 8 and 9), and 34% gave very low evaluations (rates between 0 and 5). However, the overall result is still better than the third wave of the BVA Doxa study (3-7 April) when Italians’ average mood was rated with a 5.6 and a consistent share (41%) gave evaluations between 0 and 5.

CONCERNS AND UNCERTAINTIES THE MOST COMMON FEELINGS, BUT THERE’S A RISING HOPE – The lockdown measures have overturned Italians’ daily habits and increasingly more people experience negative feelings. 62% are concerned, while 57% feel a sense of uncertainty. When considering all the negative emotions, the most shared ones are stress (29%), anxiety (29%), fear (25%), and anger (18%). A few emotions contribute to rising a sense of discouragement such as boredom (31%), tiredness (31%), sadness (35%) and depression (16%). However, Italians prove to be resilient in times of crisis and many positive feelings are rising as well: 45% is hopeful, while 18% and 17% feel trust and optimism respectively. Joy is still something difficult to feel: 5% feel dynamic, 4% happy, 2% experience some sort of fun. In general, 89% of Italians feel stressed, 67% (+3% compared to the third wave) feel depressed and 53% (+4% compared to the third wave) feel hopeful. Even happiness is rising (+3% compared to the previous wave) but overall it’s something only a few people feel (10%).

A HIGH BUT DECREASING TRUST IN INSTITUTIONS – At the beginning of the emergency, almost every respondent (89% and 83% between 20-24 March) trusted the National Health System and hospitals in their own region; now, trust is decreasing. The NHS and hospitals are trusted by 79% and 74% of Italians, while trust in WHO decreases from 76% at the end of March to 61% mid of April. On a political side, 54% trust regional Presidents (-12% compared to the first wave), while trust in the Government decreases from 60% in the first wave to 51%. Trust in European Institutions doesn’t change so much, and keeps being very low: only 27% trust the European Central Bank, while citizens trusting the European Parliament are now 25% (31% at the beginning of March).


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