Study to examine how fear of Covid-19 is impacting over 50s

THE University of Stirling is launching a new study to consider how the fear of Covid-19 is impacting the lives of those aged 50 or over.

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the university will measure the extent to which concern about Covid-19 impacts the everyday lives of people aged 50 years and over – in terms of areas such as socialising and attending physical workplaces, as well as how this fear will play in people’s decision to get vaccinated against the virus.

The 18-month study has been awarded £712,000 from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19. Titled, ‘The Impact of Covid-19 Fear: evidence to inform social, health and economic recovery’, it is being led by Dr Elaine Douglas, a lecturer in global ageing at the university.

Dr Douglas will work alongside Professor David Bell; economist Dr Dave Comerford; social scientists Dr Louise McCabe, Dr Alison Dawson and Dr Cate Pemble; and health psychologist Dr Lesley McGregor. The study will produce regular rapid reports and policy briefings throughout its duration, with the university saying the initial data is due to be published in summer 2021.

Dr Elaine Douglas said, “Covid-19 has affected the way in which people connect, look after their health, work and spend. However, little is known about the role that Covid-19 fear plays in how people go about their everyday lives – particularly among older people, who are arguably the most vulnerable to poor outcomes.

“Our research will look at how people re-engage with society over the year ahead and provide insights for policy and public health messages.”