Summary of research rounds 4 and 5
Research rounds 4 and 5 of the quarterly study among adults took place in June 2022 and September 2022. In the quarterly study among young people, the results of research round 4 and research round 5 were published separately. This is a summary of key results from research among adults in rounds 4 and 5.
Research round 3 (March 2022) was the first to include surveys of adults. The first two research rounds only looked at young people in the Netherlands. By publishing the results of rounds 4 and 5 among adults together, it is possible to identify trends right away.
Less confidence in the future
Viewed together with the first research round in March 2022, the results from June and September show fluctuations. In June, adults had more confidence in the future and reported fewer mental health problems and less stress than in March. In September, confidence had declined (dropping from 51% to 44%) and more adults were reporting mental health problems (rising from 18% to 21%) and stress (rising from 25% to 28%) than in June. Despite this increase, the percentage of adults reporting mental health problems and stress was still lower in September than in March. In addition, between March and September 2022, there was a steady downward trend in adults who felt lonely.
More GP visits related to memory and concentration problems
Primary care data showed that adults visited their GP more frequently for memory and concentration problems between April and June 2022 than in the same period in 2019. In the period between July and September, this comparative difference had vanished. The total number of GP contacts related to suicide-related thoughts and attempts among adults was low, and remained comparable to previous years.
Situation during the research round
Research rounds 4 and 5 looked at the period from March to August 2022. The primary care data covers GP visits from April to September 2022. At the start of this period, SARS-CoV-2 infections were decreasing in number and the last coronavirus measures were discontinued. After that, no coronavirus measures were in effect in the Netherlands. Although there was a summer wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in July, the number of hospital admissions remained relatively low.
Approach used in the quarterly study among adults
The quarterly study is based on survey-based research and GP records. Adults (aged 26 years and older) completed a survey on their mental and physical health. 7,818 adults completed the survey in June 2022, and 7,498 did so in September 2022. In addition, we look at the data provided by general practitioners (in the primary care database maintained by Nivel – the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research). GPs keep track of the symptoms and health conditions of the people visiting their practice. The data comes from about 380 GP practices, offering healthcare services to roughly 1.6 million registered patients (9% of the Dutch population). We look at differences in age group, gender and province.
Since results from three research rounds among adults (March, June and September 2022) are now available, it is now possible to show trend charts in this publication. These charts show trends in the mental and physical health of the Dutch population during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upcoming and previous research rounds
The surveys for the next round will be completed in December. The first research round among adults took place in March 2022. Four previous research rounds among young people have already taken place in the context of this research programme.