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The health and well-being of Portuguese citizens: impacts of covid-19

Lara N. Ferreira, Universidade do Algarve, Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-Being (CinTurs), Centre for Health Studies and Research of the University of Coimbra (CEISUC)/ Centre for Innovative Biomedicine and Biotechnology (CIBB); Luís N. Pereira, Universidade do Algarve, Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-Being (CinTurs), Centre for Health Studies and Research of the University of Coimbra (CEISUC)/ Centre for Innovative Biomedicine and Biotechnology (CIBB); Pedro L. Ferreira, Universidade de Coimbra, Centre for Health Studies and Research of the University of Coimbra (CEISUC)/ Centre for Innovative Biomedicine and Biotechnology (CIBB);
Call to support survey-based projects on the social impact of Covid-19 in Portugal (LL20-4)

This study provided data on the impact of covid-19 on the health and well-being of Portuguese respondents. Data came from a random sample of citizens (n=1,255). Results show that they reported their health to be worse than before the pandemic and that access to healthcare was greatly affected, with surgeries or medical appointments cancelled or postponed. Older respondents were the most affected. Most respondents reported feeling more nervous, anxious, or on edge; they also reported feeling sadder or more depressed. Respondents reported that social networks and daily activities were severely affected by the pandemic. A high percentage of respondents of working age reported having lost their jobs or having had to permanently close their companies. Also, a high percentage reported a reduction in income. Respondents were slightly satisfied with life and reported moderate well-being.
Key points
  • 1
       One-fourth of respondents reported “very good” health and almost half reported “good” health. A significant share of respondents considered their health to be worse than before the pandemic.
  • 2
       Access to healthcare has decreased during the pandemic: 4% of respondents had surgeries postponed or cancelled because of covid-19; more than a quarter had medical appointments or complementary exams postponed or cancelled. The number of postponements and cancellations was higher among older respondents.
  • 3
       Half of respondents reported feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge and for 85% of these respondents, these feelings were more prevalent than before the pandemic. Almost 45% of respondents felt sad or depressed and, of these, 85% felt more so than before the pandemic.
  • 4
       Respondents reported that their social networks were severely affected: they did not gather socially with more than five people from outside their own household and visited family members less frequently than before the pandemic. Most also went shopping and went for a walk less frequently than before the pandemic.
  • 5
       Respondents perceived that their economic situation had weakened during the pandemic. More than two-thirds reported experiencing a reduction in salary or turnover due to the pandemic. The impact on economic situation and work was greatest for people aged 18-34.
  • 6
       Respondents were slightly satisfied with life and reported moderate well-being.

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