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A price of lockdown: 215,000 New Zealanders want help to cope

19 Apr 20

A price of lockdown: 215,000 New Zealanders want help to cope
1 million+ felt lonely or isolated, 215,000 want help

More than 215,000 adults say they would like extra help and advice to cope with isolation and stress caused by the COVID-19 Level Four Alert lockdown.

While most adults are coping well, a Horizon Research nationwide survey finds large numbers of younger people, adults in single parent families with children at home and those on lower incomes have felt isolated and lonely.

The April 7-12, 2020, survey of 1,267 adults nationwide reveals

  • 71% of adults rate their degree of loneliness and isolation between 1 and 5, and
  • 28% rate it between 6 and 10 (where 0 = not isolated and lonely at all 10 = very lonely and isolated).

Horizon says this indicates an estimated 1,017,500 adults have felt some degree of loneliness and isolation. Among 18-24-year-olds 66% say they’ve felt this. Those least likely to have felt this way are those aged 65+.

Household type:

By household type, those who say they have felt very isolated and lonely (score 10 out of 10) are those in single parent households with three or more children at home (18% of these households), and those with a single parent and one or two children at home (16%). One in 10 of those flatting and boarding also felt it keenly (10%).

Personal income:

By personal income, maximum levels of loneliness and isolation are felt by those with personal incomes of $20,000 a year or less.

The results mirror earlier studies by Horizon and others which have found loneliness and isolation is being suffered most by younger age groups, even without the COVID-19 threat.

The survey was conducted among members of Horizon’s nationwide specialist HorizonPoll online research panel between April 7 and 12 (mostly between April 7 and 9). There were 1,267 respondents aged 18+. The survey sample is weighted by age, gender, employment status, educational level and personal income to ensure a representative sample of the adult population at the 2018 census. At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.8%.

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Government help:

The Government is offering help services. People can call text 1737 to ask to talk to a trained counsellor or call the Government Helpline 0800 779 997 (8 am – 10 pm, 7 days a week).

For further information please contact:

Graeme Colman, Principal, Horizon Research, email,nz, telephone 021 848 576, or Grant McInman, Manager, Horizon Research, email gmcinan@horizonresearch.conz, telephone 021 076 2040.