Coronavirus – coverage elsewhere

Since the start of the pandemic, we have been collecting links to perspectives and resources elsewhere…

As the pandemic has progressed, it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with all the coverage online. In terms of coronavirus itself and the fight against it, there are some excellent science writers out there doing important work – Ed Yong stands out. 

Here, we present a collection of links in roughly chronological order as the crisis has developed. We're still keen to hear about quality, evidence-based and practical coverage elsewhere… drop us a line on [email protected] or tweet @psychmag


Susan Michie was appointed to the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behavioural Science to support the Cabinet Office Briefing Room. In this BMJ blog, she argues that behavioural science must be at the heart of the public health response.

Many psychologists signed an open letter calling on the government to share their evidence for the concept of 'behavioural fatigue' around social distancing measures. In this article, and  explain the reasoning behind their letter. Plus more from Nick Chater in The Guardian.

Early on in the response, there was a lot of discussion on Twitter around whether the UK government strategy is being driven by psychology, or the 'nudge theory' approach encapsulated in the work of the Behavioural Insights Team, and whether there is a difference. Encompassing both of these areas is an emerging theme of openness, transparency and trust in the goverment. With that in mind, it is well worth taking a look at the published evidence of the UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

In this thread, the BPS President David Murphy sketched out his initial thoughts on all the ways psychology and psychologists can contribute to coping. There are lots of great suggestions in the thread, and since posting this David has firmed up that sketch and formed the BPS COVID Coordinating Group. Vaughan Bell reminds us to engage with the existing evidence base, providing tips on how best to do this

As seems to be the way with most debates in psychology at the moment, discussion eventually turned to (in effect) what psychology is and should be, who gets a voice and what topics and policy areas are appropriate for psychological comment. In this piece, Stuart Ritchie urges people not to trust his fellow psychologists on coronavirus. In this interview, we ask him about that article and more.

Also, the Real World Behavioural Science podcast has Michie in conversation with Professor Jim McManus.

The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it, from Dr Samanthan Brooks and colleagues.

Daniel Jolley writes for the Conversation on how the spread of this new virus is proving to be a fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theories. Jolley also contributes to this piece on why people are faking coronavirus stories, alongside Ken Rotenburg and Santosh Vijaykumar.

Epidemics expert Jonathan Quick talks about the likely contribution of 'vaccine hesitancy', and the problem that 'fake news' is generally free whereas reliable sources of information are behind paywalls.

The Independent considers how to curb anxieties over the virus.

Chris Cocking tweets about how media use of the term 'panic buying' becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, including this 2012 blog. See also 'Don't let coronavirus tip society into panic', featuring several psychologists. Also this on 'how you can calm down'.

Coronavirus - how to stop the anxiety spiralling out of control, by Jo Daniels (University of Bath).

What can scientists do in an emergency lockdown? A blog from Dorothy Bishop.

Why do men wash their hands less than women? Plus more toilet psychology.

A resource on talking to children about coronavirus.

The UN Inter-agency Standing Commitee (IASC) Reference Group for Mental Health & Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (MHPSS) has published guidance on managing the psychological impact of an epidemic.

Insights on social distancing, from the APA.

'Behavioural scientists' form new front in fight against coronavirus, with comment from the excellent health psychologist Susan Michie… there is a lot of talk in the media / on Twitter at the moment about the role of the UK Government Behavioural Insights Team, whether 'nudge theory' is driving strategy, and whether it is 'real' behavioural science. 

One of the very best explanations of the UK government strategy, and the assumptions and risks around it, is from psychologist Professor Ian Donald. Other important threads / tweeters to follow include Vaughan Bell and Tom ChiversThis thread from Stuart Ritchie contains very useful replies from Vaughan Bell on the published evidence for the idea that people would 'fatigue' during social isolation.

Dr Simone Schnall (University of Cambridge) with a new blog on 'Coronavirus - A view from behavioural science'.

Dr Chris Cocking with another blog on the social psychology – "we can get through this crisis if we work together".

Interview with Clinical Psychologist Dr Aiysha Malik about mental health during the crisis.

Dr Terri Apter on the volatility of psychological models in a pandemic.

Resources from the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations.

'The ABCD of coronavirus anxiety', from Dr Emma Svanberg, plus other free resources. See also 'Let's talk about coronavirus: a practical toolkit for you and your family', from Chartered Psychologist Dr Martha Deiros Collado (who has also produced this guide for talking to teenagers).

Dr Tara Porter on pupils' mental health.

Opportunities for online and in-class discussion around the social psychology of coronavirus, from David Myers.

Approaching coronavirus with compassion, from Dr Angelica Attard.

Eating disorders and coronavirus.

The Psychology of Pandemics: psychologist Steven Taylor says "I told you so!"

How can CBT principles help us cope with anxiety about coronavirus? 12 min podcast with Dr Jo Daniels interviewed by Lucy Maddox.

The British Psychological Society is collating advice and guidelines, for example on remote therapydealing with school closures; and talking to children about the virus.

The Covid-19 Five-a-day: Daily practices drawn from the evidence base by Chartered Psychologist Dr Natius Oelofson.

response from the National Survivor User Network.

framework for athletes to cope, thrive and engage in personal growth during the crisis.

Why prison conditions can be a perfect storm for spreading the virus, by Anita Mehay, Jane Ogden and Rosie Meek.

Grief and fear after a COVID-19 death.

Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response
Jay Van Bavel and many other psychologists with a preprint.

Psychological Wellbeing for Healthcare Workers - an evidence-based e-package developed by Holly Blake (University of Nottingham) and Fiona Bermingham (University of Leicester). Recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Why it's healthy to be afraid in a crisis - Lucy Johnstone. She also appeared on Sky News around normalising mental health messages during the crisis; and wrote 'We are all in this together' for Mad in the UK.

Resources from the Psychological Society of South Africa.

BBC Radio 4's The Briefing Room: The psychological impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Multidisciplinary research priorities for the Covid-19 pandemic: a call for action for mental health science. Lancet paper including many psychologists amongst its authors.

You can find How to do counselling online: a coronavirus primer on OpenLearn Create, the Open University free learning platform.

The Marginal Gains Handbook from The Career Psychologist contains 'practical ideas to survive and thrive in the age of Coronavirus'.


Get involved

What can psychology, psychologists – and The Psychologist – do to make a practical difference in such challenging times? 

In this Twitter thread, we're wondering whether our followers can come up with the top 10 evidence-based ways to maintain and even boost important social identities, even in a time of 'social distancing'. Add your suggestions!

We also think it's a good time to find "the psychologists' favourite TV comedies of all time"... 

We were also delighted by Dr Emma Norris' creative efforts with back issues of The Psychologist… perhaps others could take up the challenge and produce a 'found poem', a papier mache model, or an alternative to toilet paper…

This has now formed one strand in our call for submissions to a very special July/August edition on the 'new normal' and beyond.

'Why am I having disturbed sleep during lockdown?' A short BBC video with Colin Espie on insomnia and vivid dreams.

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