ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202308.0594.v1
Subject: Public Health And Healthcare, Primary Health Care Keywords: concerns; resources; pandemic; inflation; war in Ukraine; content analysis; Austria
Online: 8 August 2023 (07:20:17 CEST)
This study aimed to analyze areas of concern and support of the Austrian general population two years into the COVID-19 pandemic. A representative sample (N = 1,031) of the Austrian general population was surveyed online between April 19 and 26, 2022. A qualitative study design was used to explore the factors of most considerable current concern (question 1) and the most important sources of support (question 2). The responses to the two open-ended questions were evaluated using conventional content analysis and categories were formed according to the frequency of the answers. The analysis revealed that inflation and finances (30% of participants) and the war in Ukraine (22%) were the greatest sources of concern, followed by mental health (10%), and physical health (10%). Factors such as social contacts within and outside the family were mentioned most frequently as sources of support (36% of participants), followed by recreational activities (23%) and attitudes and abilities (22%). Compared to data collected at the end of the first year of the pandemic (between December 23, 2020, and January 4, 2021), concerns about one's financial situation was now mentioned more frequently (30,4% vs. 8,5%). On the other hand, different types of pandemic-related concerns were less often mentioned. Social contacts and recreation were mentioned as the most important sources of support at both time points (46% and 36% of the participants). Results suggest that the economic concerns are lagging behind the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. In addition, the impending war in Ukraine seems to have a relevant impact on mental health in Austria. Further nuanced qualitative research, particularly involving vulnerable groups like low-income individuals and the unemployed, is crucial.