Is there Anything Good about the COVID-19 Pandemic? Perceptions of the Positive Consequences at the Beginning of the Pandemic
Keywords:positive consequences, COVID-19 pandemic, mental health, well-being
AbstractThe aim of this paper was to investigate the experience of possible positive consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and their connection with indicators of mental health and well-being, and to identify themes by which people describe the positive consequences of the pandemic. As part of a broader longitudinal project, participants completed a comprehensive online survey on various aspects of the pandemic. This paper presents the results obtained from 1,201 adult participants (50.1% women) on a quantitative measure of the experienced positive consequences, and on the qualitative answers to an open question about the positive aspects of the pandemic. The quantitative measure was created for the purposes of this research. Measures of sociodemographic factors, mental health (DASS-21) and well-being (WHO-5) were also used. The results show that participants experience positive consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic through three factors: Awareness of life values, More time for oneself, and New job opportunities. Awareness of life values was ranked as the most important, then More time for oneself, and finally New job opportunities. Participants who were more aware of these three aspects of the positive effects of COVID-19 also showed significantly greater subjective well-being and resilience, while associations with depression, anxiety, and stress were negligible or low. Women were more aware of changes in their life values than men, while men had a greater experience of new job opportunities. The results of the qualitative responses show that 83.4% of participants recognised some form of positive consequences of the pandemic on their lives, on the lives of other people, and on society. Analyses revealed seven themes: better family relationships, reflection and personal growth, social well-being, digitalisation of work and education, improved personal life, environmental effects, and competent pandemic management. Together, the results point to the importance of thinking about and exploring positive consequences of crisis events in the context of individual resilience and well-being.