Construing the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: A qualitative study

David Winter, Razan Hammoud, Irina Todorova, Sabrina Cipolletta

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The COVID-19 pandemic and measures used to contain it have had a significant psychosocial impact. This paper reports a study of its psychological effects in 108 UK residents who completed an online survey between the first and second waves of the pandemic asking them to describe the main difficulties that they experienced and how they coped with these, what they had learnt from the pandemic, and their anticipations of a post-pandemic future. Deductive thematic content analysis of the results in terms of diagnostic constructs of personal construct psychology identified overarching themes of transitions, with themes of anxiety, threat, loss of role, sadness, contempt, and stress; strategies, with themes of constriction, hostility, and individual coping strategies; reconstruction, including revision of superordinate constructs, revision of subordinate constructs, and no reconstruction; and anticipations, with themes of recovery of certainty and structure, constriction, dilation, aggression, and no anticipation. Two contrasting patterns were observed, one characterized by failure to reconstrue, hostility, and/or constriction, and the other by revision of superordinate constructs, dilation, and/or aggression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Constructivist Psychology
Early online date21 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jan 2024


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • UK
  • personal construct theory
  • thematic content analysis


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