COVID-19, individual wellbeing and multi-dimensional poverty in the state of South Australia

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Research efforts in the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic focused on the actual and potential impacts on societies, economies, sectors, and governments. Less attention was paid to the experiences of individuals and less still to the impact of COVID-19 on an individual’s wellbeing. This research addresses this gap by utilising a holistic wellbeing framework to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the overall wellbeing of individuals in the Australian state of South Australia through an online survey. The research framework for the survey comprises six dimensions: psychological and emotional health, physical health, living standards, family and community vitality, governance, and ecological diversity and resilience. The results show that most respondents (71%) were able to maintain overall wellbeing during the pandemic. However, more than a half of the respondents could not maintain wellbeing in psychological and emotional health. Further examination of the drivers of inability to maintain overall wellbeing reveals that low-income individuals, younger respondents (aged 18–24) and women suffer disproportionate hardships. Defining poverty in terms of multidimensional deprivations in wellbeing enables a nuanced analysis of the unequal impacts of COVID-19 mitigation policies that can be used to improve policymaking.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0252898
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Pandemics
  • Mental health and psychiatry
  • Surveys
  • Community ecology
  • Australia
  • Emotions
  • Medical risk factors


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