At the time of the pandemic, the Czechs were engaged in hobbies, faith was on the fringes of interest

3. 8. 2020
Hobby rather than faith was the cure for a pandemic for the Czechs. Czechs were mainly afraid of hospitalization, on the other hand, they have confidence in the domestic health system. This was shown by an extensive research project that examined the behavior of the population during the quarantine. Researchers at Mendel University in Brno will now compare the results from the Czech Republic with colleagues from more than 50 countries around the world, where people answered the same questions.

“The Czechs were most helped by hobbies, long-distance contact with friends, and watching series and movies. In front of the tense atmosphere created by reports in the media and on social networks about the ever-increasing number of coronavirus victims, they also found refuge at work,” said Jiří Čeněk from the Department of Social Studies of the Faculty of Regional Development and International Studies MENDELU. In contrast, only at the end of the spectrum of activities did God and religion end. Thus, only a fraction of people sought refuge in faith in times of crisis.

The researchers also looked at what factors had the greatest negative effect on the level of stress experienced. The factor that raised the respondents’ greatest concerns was their fear of the national economy. Uncertainty and stress were caused by the fact that they did not know how long the quarantine measures would last and when they would return to normal. The data also revealed one paradox. Although people were afraid that they might be hospitalized, or that one of their relatives would end up in a hospital, on the other hand, they had great confidence in the health care system in the Czech Republic and, surprisingly, in the World Health Organization, which was the media at the time. their approach to tackling a global pandemic.

While confidence in health professionals was considerable, neither the government nor the state administration did so. Nevertheless, roughly half of the respondents found the established security measures in the Czech Republic to be adequate. Maybe that’s why only about twenty percent of people admitted that they bought food supplies for a long time. The vast majority of people reported trying to keep a physical distance between themselves to prevent the possible transmission and spread of coronavirus. Overall, the research showed that Czechs are disciplined and mostly subject to government regulations.

In the Czech Republic, around 1,500 people took part in the research. Most of them also answered open-ended questions, which is not quite common in questionnaires, as people tend to skip these questions. “We have enough answers to questions like what they did, what stressed them, it bothered them,” the scientist added. Most often, people complained about topics related to difficulties at work, loss of human contact and separation from a partner, but also about restrictions on personal freedoms, closed shopping centers, and the availability of health and social care. According to Čeňek, the whole project is unique in its scope. “In the form of a questionnaire survey, we, together with colleagues at other universities, provided data from tens of thousands of people on all continents. All this to understand the psychological consequences of coronavirus,” said Čeněk. According to him, the aim is to map the factors that can affect the psychological well-being of people and their decisions during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. They can outline the development of society if the virus returns.

The results of a worldwide study, coordinated by experts from Aarhus University and whose complete results have yet to be published, may not necessarily be for psychologists alone. “They can help professionals from different professions to understand the psychological consequences of a pandemic. Alternatively, they can help state authorities in identifying groups of the population at the psychological level of the most endangered pandemics,” Čeněk explained. According to him, research is also interesting in that it follows the principles of open science. The source data and statistical analyzes will, therefore, be published on the Internet and available to anyone who would like to analyze them themselves. This is a trend in the world that has so far reached the Czech Republic only to a limited extent.


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