Um ano de pandemia por COVID-19: relatório de monitorização de redes sociais - perceções sociais do risco, das exigências colocadas pela pandemia e dos recursos para lidar com estas

Translated title of the contribution: A year of the COVID-19 pandemic: social media monitoring report - social risk perception, demands posed by the pandemic and resources to cope with these

Rui Gaspar, Samuel Domingos, Jessica Filipe, Gisela Leiras, Beatriz Raposo, Cristina Godinho, Rita Francisco, Miguel Arriaga

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report



Goal: To analyse how different people, at different times, evaluate and respond to the demands placed by the pandemic. This allows to understand the oscillations in the adherence to SARS-CoV-2 contagion prevention behaviours’ recommendations during COVID- 19 pandemic. From this, crisis and/or risk communication actions and materials, can be customized to social perceptions of risk, i.e. the way people assess the dangers, effort and uncertainties vs. the resources available to cope with these, at a given moment.Method: A monitoring study was carried out between March 2020 and March 2021, based on longitudinal data extraction and analysis of more than 120,000 public comments from Portuguese social media users, in response to publications on COVID- 19 issued by the Directorate-General for Health and by seven national media (Expresso, TVI24, RTP3, SIC Notícias, Correio da Manhã, Público, Observador). This study has followed an approach that has proven relevant in obtaining scientific evidence to support effective actions and materials in increasing adherence to the recommendation and social mobilization of citizens - the ResiliScence approach. This approach considers citizens as "social sensors", allowing the detection of fluctuations in their evaluations and responses over time. Main results: In certain periods, the level of systemic risk perception reflected the severity of the epidemiological situation, but in other periods this did not happen, with some expressions of uncertainty/distrust regarding the seriousness of the reported numbers or high-risk perception when the epidemiological situation was not severe (e.g., school year beginning). Considering the social representation of the crisis characteristics at a certain moment (see the various crisis templates in Annex III), particularly the demands, the effort indicators were predominant in comparison to danger and uncertainty indicators in the situation, supporting the hypothesis that the current health crisis became chronic, with a predominance of the so-called pandemic fatigue.The pandemic period in which perceived systemic risk was lower, occurred with the first cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the country and with the first record of zero deaths (from which it can be inferred that both events have potentiated perceived control). Also in the Christmas period, there was a low perception of risk, potentially associated with “feelings of safety” associated with family meetings and with the consequences of a long effort/fatigue period in the preceding months, which limits resources that are essential to be vigilant. The highest level of risk perception occurred in January 2021, when Portugal went through the most serious epidemiological situation since the beginning of the pandemic. Quantitative results can be visualized at: After each “crisis period”, in which the perceived systemic risk consistently increased until reaching a peak, a “restoration period” was identified, where this perceived risk decreased consistently, reaching the average levels of the previous cycle. These results can, on the one hand, indicate social and individual resilience, in which after each crisis there is recovery and potentiation of resources. On the other hand, this can also indicate escape/denial of the situation with risk attenuation, after a period of high risk. Furthermore, this may serve as a warning because the repetition of several crisis-recovery cycles can originate negative consequences for psychological health and consequent longer recovery time after each "peak" of crisis, unless sufficient social and personal resources are provided to citizens, that make recovery more effective.In this context, a social sensors approach may make it possible to customize crisis and risk communication to social perceptions of the situation (identified crisis template) at a certain moment (for example, showing empathy, recognizing effort and thanking for the adherence to protective behaviours recommendations, if psychological effort is predominant in the crisis template identified).
Translated title of the contributionA year of the COVID-19 pandemic: social media monitoring report - social risk perception, demands posed by the pandemic and resources to cope with these
Original languagePortuguese
Place of PublicationLisboa
PublisherDireção-Geral da Saúde
Number of pages53
ISBN (Electronic)9789726753247
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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