Objective: The negative consequences of COVID-19 national lockdowns have been well documented, including the worsening of mental health for many, and the amplification of pre-existing inequalities. As a counterpoint, the current study utilises a mixed-methods co-production approach to share psychosocial insights into the adoption of positive changes made during national lockdown in Scotland. The study examined: i) the psychosocial patterning of positive behavior changes, ii) the psychosocial processes by which positive change was realised, and worked with partner organizations to share these insights.

Methods: A sequential mixed-methods design included an online survey (n=2445) assessing positive changes in sleep and physical activity patterns, and the role of socio-demographics, mood, social support, coping, and resilience, with multivariate logistic regression analysis. Interviews were employed with a purposive diverse sub-sample of people self-reporting high levels of positive change (n=48) and used thematic analysis.

Results: The survey identified positive behavior change was significantly patterned by age, gender and vulnerability to COVID-19. Higher levels of positive reframing and active coping in relation to stress were associated with higher levels of positive behavior change. Higher symptoms of depression, planning, and self-distraction were associated with less positive behavior change. Thematic analysis showed the centrality of perceptions of time, opportunities to self-reflect and engage with the natural world, access support in diverse ways, actively build routine and purposefully build self-efficacy and a sense of control were key to initiating positive change.

Conclusions: The current study yields insights into achieving positive behavior change at a time of international crisis.


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Cite as

Williams, L., MacDonald, B., Rollins, L., Janssen, X., Fleming, L., Grealy, M., Kirk, A., Young, D. & Flowers, P. 2021, 'Sharing positive behavior change made during COVID-19 lockdown: a mixed-methods co-production study', Health Psychology, 40(10), pp. 655-665. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0001130

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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