The lives of millions of people worldwide have been profoundly changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. And all of us have found different ways of dealing with these changes. But how can such differences be explained? And which strategies for coping with the COVID-19 crisis are most beneficial to whom? The global scale "Coping with Corona" project (CoCo), organised by the the University of Münster, aims to answer these and other questions. The CoCo project aims to better understand differences in coping with the COVID-19 crisis and develop individualized interventions for the current pandemic and possible future crises. The study is now running in Germany, the UK, USA, Australia, India and many more countries are about to follow.
More and more studies show: It is not only our initial financial, professional, or family situation that influences the effects the corona crisis has on our daily lives. Our character (for example, how we personally react to challenges) also has a significant impact on our emotional well-being in challenging times like these. "People differ in how they cope with the COVID-19 crisis", explains Mitja Back, a psychology professor at the University of Münster, Germany, and spokesperson for the CoCo project. "We need to understand these differences so that we can support people in their coping on an individual level as a next step."
In order to investigate these complex and fine-grained psychological processes, the psychologists apply an innovative research design. "This study is unique from a research perspective", says Prof. Markus Bühner from LMU Munich, Germany. "Participants are accompanied over a period of four weeks and can regularly provide brief details about their everyday experience. This so-called experience sampling method enables us to get an authentic picture of the participants' feelings, worries, hopes, and social everyday experiences."
The researchers hope they can use the data to gain more insight into why people respond differently to the COVID-19 pandemic. "It is important to understand such individual differences to enable us to provide personalized assistance in coping with challenging times like these", reflects Prof. Maarten van Zalk from the University of Osnabrück, Germany. "At the same time, there are vast differences between regions within even one country and especially between countries. Psychological studies tend to neglect such cultural, political, and geographical factors when investigating the COVID-19 crisis. That's why we strive to include as many and as diverse countries as possible in our study."
For this important task, researchers from the University of Münster, LMU Munich and the University of Osnabrück have teamed up with Stanford University, Columbia University New York, and the University of Texas in Austin and formed a global network of renowned scientists from more than 25 countries (including Germany, UK, Italy, USA, Brazil, Russia, Australia).
Participation in the four-week online study is now available in Germany, the UK, USA, Australia and India. More countries and languages will follow in the upcoming weeks.