Background: The COVID-19 pandemic challenges societies in unknown ways, and individuals experience a substantial change in their daily lives and activities. Our study aims to describe these changes using population-based self-reported data about social and health behavior in a random sample of the Swiss population during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the present article is two-fold: First, we want to describe the study methodology. Second, we want to report participant characteristics and study findings of the first survey wave to provide some baseline results for our study.
Methods: Our study design is a longitudinal online panel of a random sample of the Swiss population. We measure outcome indicators covering general well-being, physical and mental health, social support, healthcare use and working state over multiple survey waves.
Results: From 8,174 contacted individuals, 2,026 individuals participated in the first survey wave which corresponds to a response rate of 24.8%. Most survey participants reported a good to very good general life satisfaction (93.3%). 41.4% of the participants reported a worsened quality of life compared to before the COVID-19 emergency and 9.8% feelings of loneliness.
Discussion: The COVID-19 Social Monitor is a population-based online survey which informs the public, health authorities, and the scientific community about relevant aspects and potential changes in social and health behavior during the COVID-19 emergency and beyond. Future research will follow up on the described study population focusing on COVID-19 relevant topics such as subgroup differences in the impact of the pandemic on well-being and quality of life or different dynamics of perceived psychological distress.