Silver Linings Reported by Australians Experiencing Public Health Restrictions during the First Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Report

Article


Campbell, Narelle, Thompson, Sandra C., Tynan, Anna, Townsin, Louise, Booker, Lauren A. and Argus, Geoff. 2021. "Silver Linings Reported by Australians Experiencing Public Health Restrictions during the First Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Report." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18 (11406), pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111406
Article Title

Silver Linings Reported by Australians Experiencing Public Health Restrictions during the First Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Report

ERA Journal ID44293
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsCampbell, Narelle (Author), Thompson, Sandra C. (Author), Tynan, Anna (Author), Townsin, Louise (Author), Booker, Lauren A. (Author) and Argus, Geoff (Author)
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Journal Citation18 (11406), pp. 1-10
Number of Pages10
Year2021
PublisherMDPI AG
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISSN1660-4601
1661-7827
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111406
Web Address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/21/11406
Abstract

This national study investigated the positives reported by residents experiencing the large-scale public health measures instituted in Australia to manage the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Most Australians had not previously experienced the traditional public health measures used (social distancing, hand hygiene and restriction of movement) and which could potentially impact negatively on mental well-being. The research design included qualitative semi-structured phone interviews where participants described their early pandemic experiences. Data analysis used a rapid identification of themes technique, well-suited to large-scale qualitative research. The ninety participants (mean age 48 years; 70 women) were distributed nationally. Analysis revealed five themes linked with mental well-being and the concept of silver linings: safety and security, gratitude and appreciation, social cohesion and connections, and opportunities to reset priorities and resilience. Participants demonstrated support for the public health measures and evidence of individual and community resilience. They were cognisant of positives despite personal curtailment and negative impacts of public health directives. Stories of hope, strength, and acceptance, innovative connections with others and focusing on priorities and opportunities within the hardship were important strategies that others could use in managing adversity.

Keywordsmental health; resilience; policy; rapid evaluation; theme identification
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420699. Public health not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsFlinders University
University of Western Australia
Department of Health, Queensland
Torrens University
La Trobe University
School of Psychology and Counselling
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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