Exploring experiences with stressors and coping resources among Dutch socioeconomic groups during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dani van der Kamp, Marieke Torensma, Sarah Vader, Roald Pijpker, Lea den Broeder, Mirjam P Fransen, Annemarie Wagemakers

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The COVID-19 crisis impacts populations globally. This impact seems to differ for groups with low- and high-socioeconomic status (SES). We conducted a qualitative study in the Netherlands using a salutogenic perspective to examine experiences with stressors and coping resources during the pandemic among both SES groups to gain insight on how to promote the health and well-being of these groups. We conducted 10 focus group discussions and 20 interviews to explore the experiences, including resources and stressors, of respondents from low- (N = 37) and high-SES (N = 38) groups (25-55 years, Dutch speaking). We analyzed the findings at individual, community, and national levels. The results show that coping depends on government-imposed measures and the way individuals handle these measures; restriction to the home context with positive and negative consequences for work and leisure; psychological negative consequences and resourcefulness; and social effects related to unity (e.g. social cohesion or support) and division (including polarization). Respondents with lower SES expressed more problems with COVID-19 measures and experienced more social impact in their neighborhood than those with higher SES. Where low-SES groups especially mentioned the effects of staying at home on family life, high-SES groups mentioned effects on work life. At last, psychological consequences seem to differ somewhat across SES groups. Recommendations include consistent government-imposed measures and government communication, support for home schooling children, and strengthening the social fabric of neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdaac198
Pages (from-to)1-12
Journal Health Promotion International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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