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Anxiety, overeating and under-exercising, insomnia and depression are all seen as problems arising as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown in South Africa…

Only three in every ten online South Africans (30%) indicated that they do not suffer from any of the listed conditions. Males were slightly less open to answering the question than females were.

In an online poll, conducted by IPSOS from 7 – 10 May 2020, the question was asked:

“Are you suffering from any of the following as a result of Covid-19?”

*Please note: Respondents were not asked whether they have suffered from these conditions at some time before the pandemic.

With unlimited exercise hours commencing on the 1st of June, one can assume that less people will complain about insufficient exercise, but the Level 3 regulations will not make a difference to those suffering from anxiety, overeating, insomnia and depression. Interpreting the table above, women clearly feel that they are suffering more from these conditions than men are.

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South Africans are not alone in experiencing negative psychological effects from the coronavirus and lockdown.

In keeping with the ban on alcohol sales in South Africa during lockdown level 4, almost one in every five (19%) men indicated that they have consumed less alcohol, with females not far behind at 14% – and despite the ban on cigarette sales, 8% are smoking more than they did before the pandemic, probably adding weight to the reports about the easy accessibility of illicit cigarettes in the country.

Internationally, top 2 concerns are insufficient exercise and anxiety

More people across 16 countries say they feel that they are suffering from not exercising enough and anxiety. This is out of 11 possible ailments presented as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a global poll of more than 16,000 online people, conducted from 7 to 10 May, about one third of the respondents in 10 countries say they are under exercising because of Covid-19, with this sentiment highest in Japan (38%), South Korea (37%), Italy (33%), China (31%), Mexico and Russia (30%).

The second most cited health concern on the international list is anxiety, with at least a quarter of people in 11 countries saying they are suffering from this because of the pandemic. Respondents in Brazil (41%), Mexico (35%), Russia and South Africa (32%) and Canada (29%) are more likely to say this.

Overeating and insomnia were reported as the next two down the list of ailments that people are suffering from. Respondents in Brazil (39%) were most likely to say they are overeating, followed by South Africa and Mexico (29%), Canada (28%) and the United Kingdom (25%).

Those in Mexico (38%), Brazil (26%), Spain and South Africa (25%) were most likely to say they’re suffering from insomnia.

Meanwhile, women are more likely than men to say they are impacted in all the categories except for alcohol consumption and increased smoking. The percentage of younger women – those aged 34 and under – were also more likely to cite insomnia, anxiety and depression as result of the outbreak.

Some not affected

Overall though, more people across the 16 countries said they were not affected by any of these conditions because of the pandemic. This sentiment was true for the majority in Germany (53%) and France (52%), followed by Japan (44%), Australia (43%) and the United States (41%).


About the Study

  • These are the results of an Ipsos survey conducted May 7th to 10th, 2020 on the Global Advisor online platform among 16,000 adults aged 18-74 in Canada and the United States and 16-74 in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the United Kingdom. Where available, tracking results from previous studies conducted through March and April, as well as selected results from February, are referenced by date.
  • The sample for this study consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each country. The samples in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population over age 16 or 18 (as above) and under the age of 75. The sample in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa is more urban, more educated and/or more affluent than the general population and should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of the population. The data is weighted so that each market’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.
  • Where results do not sum up to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don’t knows or not stated responses. The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website (www.Ipsos.com).

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.