People between ages of 30 and 64 in Belgium most dissatisfied with social contacts
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People between ages of 30 and 64 in Belgium most dissatisfied with social contacts

Credit: Belga

People in Belgium are experiencing a high level of dissatisfaction with their social life, in particular those aged between 30 and 64, according to public health institute Sciensano’s latest Covid-19 Health Survey.

The study, which questioned 20 000 people between 18 and 25 March 2021, found that 63% of the adult population is dissatisfied with their current social contacts and that people are particularly struggling to abide by the rule which limits people’s close contact to one person.

“This social unhappiness also translates into feelings of loneliness. Almost one in three people (27%) feel very lonely, whilst one in four people experience anxiety problems or depression. We see that the population is still destabilised and psychologically challenged,” said Stefaan Demarest, a researcher at Sciensano.

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The report stated that “surprisingly, it is the 30-49 and 50-64-year-olds who most often report disturbed social lives, with 69% and 65% of them dissatisfied with their social contacts, respectively.” It added that people with disabilities (73%), couples with children (70%), followed by single people with children (69%) appear to be the most dissatisfied with their social contacts.

Meanwhile, the mental health of young adults (18-29 years) is by far the most affected (34% suffer from anxiety disorders and 38% from depression), and this figure is particularly high among young women (around 40%).

It also found that people are finding it more difficult to respect the coronavirus fighting measures than in December 2020, and reported that half of the people (49%) who violate certain measures think that the restrictions are too strict.

“The epidemiological situation has not allowed the relaxation of coronavirus fighting measures until now, leading to difficulties that a large number of people cannot (or can no longer) overcome,” the report stated.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times