Britons fall into one of three groups depending on their response to the coronavirus lockdown – the accepter, the sufferer and the resister.
Analysis by King’s College London found that the largest group, around 48% of the UK, have accepted the new way of life during the coronavirus outbreak, while around 44% are suffering and 9% are resisting the changes.
“The large bulk of the population are fully behind the measures, but even within this group there are clear dividing lines between those who are coping pretty well and those who are really suffering,” said Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London.
“Nearly all of this suffering group have felt more anxious and depressed, and six in 10 are losing sleep.”
The survey of 2,250 adults, carried out by Ipsos MORI in early April, found young people are most likely to be in the resisting group – made up of around 64% males.
Around 58% of the resisting group think “too much fuss is being made about the risk of coronavirus” compared with only 14% of the nation as a whole.
Just 49% of the resisting group say they are adhering to lockdown rules completely or nearly all of the time, and are much less likely to follow official guidance such as staying two metres away from others outside.
The resisters are more optimistic about Britain’s financial recovery than any of the groups, with 33% of them expecting the economy to start growing again in three months or less compared to just 11% of accepters and sufferers.
People aged 55 to 75 are the biggest proportion of the accepting.
The accepters are more likely to have voted Conservative and supported Brexit, and only 28% of them said they are potentially facing financial difficulties as a result of the lockdown – the lowest of all the groups.
Nearly two-thirds of those suffering are women.
King’s found that 93% of the suffering said they are following lockdown rules completely or most of the time, but the same percentage of them report feeling more anxious and depressed, with 64% of them losing sleep.
Lockdown measures were announced by the government on 23 March in a bid to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus, with Britons told they could only leave their homes for basic necessities, exercising once a day, for a medical need or for work if they could not work from home.
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The government has been accused of responding too slowly to the spread of the virus, despite ministers arguing that they followed scientific advice.
The accepters have the most confidence in the government’s handling of the outbreak, while the suffering are most likely to think Britain acted too slowly.