The experiences of lockdown for families in Bradford during the COVID-19 pandemic – new findings from the Born in Bradford study

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Crucial findings from the first in a series of Born in Bradford (BiB)1 COVID-19 research studies have been published in a paper on the Wellcome Open Gateway2. Since 2007, Born in Bradford has been following the lives of over 36,000 Bradford residents, including ethnically diverse and socio-economically deprived populations. The findings are part of a broader series of adaptive research activities3 (Figure 1) supporting the Bradford District COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Group4 response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Born in Bradford and other research infrastructure at Bradford Institute for Health Research5 have been harnessed to answer some of the key questions that local policy and decision makers are asking as they determine and co-ordinate the local response to COVID-19. Engagement and consultation with the community, including those seldom-heard, and decision makers is central in shaping and are shaping the study design and content through this adaptive process.

These first findings in the series, covering the period April – June 2020, report the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions on mothers and families during this time. They showed that a large number of families were experiencing housing, food and employment insecurities, with one in three reporting being worse off financially than the three months prior to lockdown. Insecurities were also associated with being furloughed, self-employed and not working or being unemployed. There was evidence of increasing inequalities and of families being pushed into poverty.

Clinically significant depression and anxiety symptoms were reported by 18% and 16% of mothers respectively. Nearly one in four households included a member who was considered clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 (advised to shield, over 70 years of age, pregnant etc). The most common worry of respondents sharing their lived experience of the pandemic was that their children or wider family members might catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill or die. Financial insecurity, mental health and home schooling were other reoccurring concerns in responses.

Further survey rounds are planned with parents, children, pregnant and postpartum women over the course of the next 12 months as part of a longitudinal study to understand the changing impact of the pandemic. Recent data collection and linked data for the cohort provides a pre-pandemic data baseline, supporting better understanding of the pandemics’ impact. These surveys are being complemented by in-depth qualitative research with community leaders, parents, children, pregnant and postpartum women and their partners over the same period. Collectively, this body of research offers a unique view into the lives of families and children during the COVID-19 pandemic and will go some way to address the local research and intelligence needs of communities and decision makers responding to it.

https://www.bradfordresearch.nhs.uk/c-sag

https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/articles/5-228/v1

https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/articles/5-191/v1

https://www.bradfordresearch.nhs.uk/c-sag

https://www.bradfordresearch.nhs.uk

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