Background: Multiple studies have highlighted the negative impact of COVID-19 and its particular effects on vulnerable sub-populations. Complementing this work, here, we report on the social patterning of self-reported positive changes experienced during COVID-19 national lockdown in Scotland.

Methods: The CATALYST study collected data from 3342 adults in Scotland during weeks 9-12 of a national lockdown. Using a cross-sectional design, participants completed an online questionnaire providing data on key sociodemographic and health variables, and completed a measure of positive change. The positive change measure spanned diverse domains (e.g., more quality time with family, developing new hobbies, more physical activity, and better quality of sleep). We used univariate analysis and stepwise regression to examine the contribution of a range of sociodemographic factors (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, educational attainment, and employment status) in explaining positive change.

Results: There were clear sociodemographic differences across positive change scores. Those reporting higher levels of positive change were female, from younger age groups, married or living with their partner, employed, and in better health.

Conclusion: Overall our results highlight the social patterning of positive changes during lockdown in Scotland. These findings begin to illuminate the complexity of the unanticipated effects of national lockdown and will be used to support future intervention development work sharing lessons learned from lockdown to increase positive health change amongst those who may benefit.


© 2021 Williams et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite as

Williams, L., Rollins, L., Young, D., Fleming, L., Grealy, M., Janssen, X., Kirk, A., MacDonald, B. & Flowers, P. 2021, 'What have we learned about positive changes experienced during COVID-19 lockdown? Evidence of the social patterning of change', PLoS ONE, 16(1), article no: e0244873. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244873

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Last updated: 30 June 2022
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