Surviving in Crisis Mode: The Effect of Material Hardship and Social Support on Emotional Wellbeing Among People in Poverty During COVID-19

Alisa C. Lewin, Michal Shamai, Sharon Novikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a sudden economic crisis that led to increases in hardship and poverty. Motivated by the concern that people living in long-term poverty have few reserves to draw upon in times of crisis and may experience severe consequences, this study focuses on the association between material hardship and emotional wellbeing among people in poverty. The data were collected in two waves of telephone surveys during the pandemic (n = 88). Participants for the study were recruited through social service departments in six cities in Northern Israel. The findings show that COVID-19 increased material hardship, and that material hardship has detrimental effects on the four measures of emotional wellbeing selected (stress, anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms). Informal social support has positive effects on emotional wellbeing but it does not counter the negative effects of material hardship. Policy implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Indicators Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST # 3-16924).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Covid-19
  • Depression
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Material hardship
  • Poverty
  • Social support
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (all)

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