The stress of Covid-19 reduces our ability to think and make decisions
The questions included how often they felt nervous or stressed, whether they were following news about the epidemic continuously and whether they were worried about a “lack of housing, food or medicine” for themselves and their loved ones in the weeks following the questionnaire, the Quebec newspaper La Presse said.
The respondents also completed a battery of psychological tests “to measure their basic cognitive abilities,” the release said. The result: performance in “simple cognitive tasks” decreased compared to the pre-crisis period, including a decrease in concentration skills.
The participants’ attitude to risk was measured using a simulation that asked them to make “a series of hypothetical choices” between a “certain” option, which promised to earn a certain amount of money, and a “risky” option, where there was a chance of not earning anything.
In the most anxious individuals, the scientists observed that “their sensitivity increased in the face of the probabilities they had of taking risks”. And these individuals are likely to enter a vicious circle, being all the more on the lookout for information about the epidemic and vaccination, the study continues.
The scientific study also believes that more work should be done to determine how this level of stress may affect adherence to public health measures, especially regarding “the far from universal acceptance of vaccination” – while taking into account “individual differences” in addition to the circumstances of the epidemic.