NAVIGATING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TERRAIN OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: A STUDY ON EMOTIONAL AND COGNITIVE RESPONSES USING SOCIAL MEDIA DATA IN INDIA
The outbreak of COVID-19, also known as Corona Virus Disease 2019, has been associated with a considerable impact on individuals' psychological well-being. The objective of this research is to investigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals' mental well-being. The findings of this study seek to support policy makers in formulating effective policies and aid clinical practitioners, such as social workers, psychiatrists, and psychologists, in delivering timely and appropriate assistance to populations impacted by the pandemic. We conducted a sampling and analysis of Facebook postings from a population of 17,000 active Facebook users. The data was analysed to determine word frequency, as well as scores for emotional indicators such as anxiety, sadness, and anger, and cognitive indicators such as social risk judgement and life satisfaction. The study used sentiment analysis and a paired sample t-test to investigate the disparities within a single group before to and subsequent to the announcement of the COVID-19 outbreak on January 13, 2020. The findings of the study indicated that there was an increase in negative emotions such as anxiety, despair, and anger, as well as an increase in sensitivity to social risks. Conversely, there was a drop in scores related to good emotions and life satisfaction. Individuals exhibited a greater degree of care towards their own well-being and familial relationships, while displaying a diminished emphasis on recreational activities and social connections. The findings of this study help to address the existing information gaps about the immediate individual-level alterations in psychological states after the pendamic. This study aims to provide valuable references for policymakers in formulating successful strategies to combat future pandemics. Specifically, it seeks to enhance the stability of public sentiment and expedite the preparedness of clinical practitioners in providing appropriate therapeutic interventions for vulnerable populations and individuals afflicted by such crises.
COVID-19, Anxiety, Well-Being, Emotion, MERS