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How is your life? (…in the time of corona…)

Updated: May 1


The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) triggered policy interventions that have affected people to an extent they have not previously experienced – let alone imagined. Many have lost their jobs, others are temporary laid-off. Freedom to move around has become restricted. Many are anxious about their health and safety.


All in all, life has simply become much different!

Countries were differently prepared for the outbreak, in terms of their healthcare systems and social insurance schemes. Different sets of interventions have been chosen. Within countries, people have been hit differently – flight attendants have lost their jobs, while professors have now suddenly been encouraged to work from home!

The aim of the current project is to provide new knowledge on how individuals’ subjective wellbeing (also referred to as ‘life satisfaction’ or happiness) is affected in the time of corona.


We apply a widely used measure, the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI), that includes key life domains. In addition, we include two context specific domains related to job-situation and social distancing. By use of discrete choice experiments (DCE) we can infer preferences weights that suggest the relative importance of life domains in this most unusual time of our lives. Furthermore, the survey includes a range of variables to explain the social gradient in who have been affected most, and in which ways.

In the initial stage, six countries will be compared; Australia, Canada, China, Norway, UK and USA. A web-based survey will aim to recruit 2,000 respondents from each country that are representative of the adult population (aged 18 years and older) in terms of age and gender.


We hope that results from this project will inform policy makers about which life domains are most important to people, and implement policies that minimize loss of wellbeing.



Funding: This study is funded by an Australian Research Council DECRA Project (DE180100647) and University of Tromsø.

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Associate Professor Gang Chen I Centre for Health Economics, Monash University, Australia

Professor Jan Abel Olsen | Department of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway

© April 2020