COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown and Wellbeing: Experiences from Aotearoa New Zealand in 2020
journal contributionposted on 06.03.2022, 20:49 by Tara OfficerTara Officer, F Imlach, E McKinlay, J Kennedy, Megan PledgerMegan Pledger, Lynne RussellLynne Russell, Marianna ChurchwardMarianna Churchward, J Cumming, Karen McBride-HenryKaren McBride-Henry
In 2020, in the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Aotearoa New Zealand consistently maintained stringent public health measures including stay-at-home lockdowns and distancing responses. Considering the widespread disruption to social functioning caused by the pandemic, this paper aimed to explore environmental and social factors that influenced the wellbeing of individuals during the first lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our mixed-methods study involved a survey (n = 1010) and semi-structured interviews of a subset of surveyed individuals undertaken at the tail end of the first 2020 lockdown. Survey participants were recruited through social media-driven snowball sampling, less than 50% were aged under 45 years and 85% identified as female. Of those interviewed, 63% identified as female. Qualitative interview findings and open-ended survey results were analysed thematically. Participants described a variety of factors influencing wellbeing, largely related to the community and household; physical, behavioural, and lifestyle factors; access to health services; and social and economic foundations. While much of the focus of COVID-19 recovery was on reversing the economic and physical toll of the pandemic, our findings emphasise the need to empower individuals, families, and communities to mitigate the pandemic’s negative implications on wellbeing.