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Survey: One in five Indians say faith in God increased significantly during lockdown

More than 20 percent of Indians partaking in an online survey found their faith in God increased considerably during the first month of a nationwide lockdown.

Out of the 1,653 people surveyed 21.2 percent reported that their faith in God increased significantly during the COVID-19 lockdown stated research published in The Indian Journal of Psychiatry.

A lesser number of 18.3 percent felt a slight increase in their faith, said the research conducted April 6-24 by 17 medical institutions in the country.

Half the respondents, 50.1 percent, felt the lockdown caused no change in their faith towards God.

Meanwhile a much smaller number, 4.4 per cent, said they felt a slight loss of faith while 4 percent felt a significant loss in their faith in God.

The online survey sought to gauge the psychological impact of the nationwide lockdown which went into place March 25.

The study assessed the prevalence of depression, anxiety, perceived stress, well-being, and other psychological issues. 

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A major finding was that more than two fifths of the people surveyed were experiencing common mental disorders due to lockdown and the pandemic, said Professor Sandeep Grover from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, who led the study.

The study found that 38.2 per cent of those surveyed had anxiety while 10.5 per were dealing with depression.

Meanwhile a moderate level of stress was reported by 74.1 percent of those who partook in the survey and 71.7 percent reported poor well-being.

A woman walks past a closed shop in a street during a lockdown to contain the surge of COVID-19 coronavirus cases, in Bangalore on July 20. (Photo by Manjunath Kiran/AFP)

Positive impacts

Among the positive impacts of the lockdown, the survey showed improved relationships between parents, children, spouse or with colleagues or neighbors.

Out of the total participants, 47.4 percent of the people reported a marked improvement in their relationships with their spouse/partner.  With children the figure stood at 44.2 percent, and with parents it was 47.3 percent.

“[These] improved relationships could be attributed to the availability of more free time, less work pressure and possible fulfillment of long desired free time,” Grover said.

He added that when everyone is fighting a common enemy, that interpersonal relationship issues are forgotten, which is possibly reflected as improved relationships. Also, the fear of death tends to bring people closer and forget differences, he said. 

Another interesting fact the study revealed was that 61.8 per cent of people reported marked improvement in their relationship with their neighbors and 59.6 per cent with their office colleagues during the lockdown period.

The new coronavirus has now infected over 18.8 million people worldwide, claiming 710,110 lives. In India there has been more than two million reported cases of infection and more than 41,500 fatalities.

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