Subproject 1: Older adults in the Netherlands (survey research)

(Vrije Universiteit, AISSR, Trimbos Institute).

This sub-project focuses on the older population (defined as people 65+) and how they cope with in particular the social isolation during the COVID-19 crisis. It consists out of two parts:

On the one hand, data is collected among older adults living in their own home/ independently. For this part of the project the LISS panel is used which is a probability based online panel ( At two time points (May and June 2020) 1.882 panel members are asked, among others, about loneliness, social contacts, informal and formal support, coping strategies and health. The longitudinal design allows to examine changes in the situation of older adults over time, Moreover, it will be possible to detail the analyses further differentiating between for instance young old vs oldest, people with a pre-condition vs healthy people or between regions.

On the other hand, the project also examines the situation of older adults in nursing homes and residential care facilities. For this purpose three different volunteer online surveys have been disseminated among family members of residents, care staff as well as to residents without cognitive problems. Participants answered questions about, among others, frequency and alternatives for visits to maintain social contact with residents, general well-being, loneliness, mood, behaviour and day time activities of residents. The data collection entails two waves, one in May and the follow-up in June 2020.

Subproject 2: Vulnerable older adults (qualitative)

(Ben Sajet Centrum, Pharos, Trimbos Institute)

This subproject complements subproject 1 because it targets harder to reach older people who less likely to participate in a panel study using a qualitative methodology detailing lived experience. The study uses a realist evaluation approach [12] to study the impact of the COVID-19 measures on the everyday lives of three groups of vulnerable older adults: those living with cognitive problems (dementia), older adults living with complex health needs (such as comorbidities), older adults living in socially and economically challenging situations (e.g. with social networks under pressure, language barriers, or living at a subsistence minimum). Study participants will be diverse in terms of background (migration history, gender, sexuality), area of residence (urban and rural) and place of residence (home in the community and institution). For eight participants a more elaborate case study will be conducted, additionally involving repeated interviews with at least four network members. Following Ben Sajet co-creation practices, a working group of peer workers and informal carers will be established that closely work with the researchers to co-design relevant project recommendations.

Subproject 3: People with severe psychiatric health needs

(Trimbos Institute)

Around 300,000 Dutch people with severe psychiatric health issues who have been used to receive home care are currently facing enormous uncertainties. The impact of social isolation on these groups and their caretakers is unclear. This subproject focusses on: 1) clients who are used to having day activities or sheltered work; 2) clients of outreach services (such as Flexible Assertive Community treatment (FACT) or “bemoeizorg”); 3) clients in residential facilities; 4) people who should receive crisis care (such as Intensive Home Treatment (IHT). Among them are subgroups of specific concern, such as people that suffer from anxiety, dual disorders (including substance use disorder), and patients that normally receive long-acting injectable antipsychotic medication.

Subproject 4: People with learning disabilities

(AUAS, Ben Sajet Centre)

Subproject 5: Homeless populations

(Trimbos Institute)

There are approximately 40,000 homeless people in the Netherlands (CBS), excluding users of 24-hour shelter. An ongoing challenge is to locate shelter at night and deal with the increased risk of transmission as a result of the mobility of this population. Health communication about measures and support also does not easily reach this group. In addition, the physical vulnerability to infection for these groups is high, which means that medical intervention with 1,5 meter physical distance is necessary. The impact of COVID-19 on this group can be extra damaging. The data collection strategy is similar to subproject 3, with the exception that the panel survey cannot be conducted for this group. The interviews will target professionals within the shelter environment in collaboration with Valente (a network organization supporting sheltering) and policy advisors at the municipal levels.

Subproject 6: Young families


Some families are more at risk of impact than others. These includes families with young children, migrant children, some of them without parents, or youth from lower income neighborhoods. The Sarphati Cohort is a study into the development and health of Amsterdam children in the city. The study aims to gain insight into what influences children’s health and to help prevent non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases, starting from an early age. The cohort includes children receiving services from Youth Health Care (YHC) at the Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD Amsterdam) and the Amsterdam Health Foundation (SAG) Parent and Child Teams. The impact of COVID-19 on a selection of this cohort will be assessed through weekly telephone interviews of about 15 minutes with 20 participating parents. Telephone calls will be recorded and transcribed, stored and shared centrally (with parents’ consent). Additionally, organize online focus group meetings with parents are proposed to allow them to exchange experiences and together suggest policy-changes. Data results can be contextualized and contrasted with previously gathered data including information about nutrition, exercise, sleeping, growth, parenting and background characteristics.

Subproject 7: Domestic and other types of violence


Mapping changes in domestic and other types of violence during Covid-19

This subproject consists of collaborations with the organisation Veilig Thuis Amsterdam Amstelland and with the Amsterdam Police to map domestic problems that occur in social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to standard reports of domestic violence (broadly defined), these organisations report a risk of possibly increasing domestic violence cases and related problems due to the temporary loss of social networks, everyday contexts (school, work) and social interactions with people outside the family home.

Researchers from the Department of Anthropology have in the context of an ongoing project ERC Consolidator Project “Race, Face I.D.” established relationships with these institutions. In this project we will map and analyse the quantitative data that Veilig Thuis and the Police Meldkamer receive on a weekly basis, according to pre-established protocols. To contextualise these numbers we will conduct qualitative weekly telephone interviews with professionals of Veilig Thuis Amsterdam Amstelland and with professionals of the Amsterdam Police. Additional interviews will be conducted with general practitioners and teachers who report cases to Veilig Thuis as well as members of organisations, such as Bureau Jeugdzorg, GGZ or Ouder- en Kind Teams to whom Veilig thuis reports cases. The qualitative interviews will allow us to identify the stories behind the data and to collect additional experiences of problems and needs that are not reflected in the quantitative data.

Student projects

The University of Amsterdam department of Anthropology offers opportunities for some bachelor students to participate in this project, as part of course assignments. Their data collection will be included in the overall project results if it fits with the overall research goal and the general target of socially vulnerable populations. Note that getting access to some of the specific population targets in this proposal is difficult under the circumstances and conducted by professionals with long-term access. More generally, there is interest among some of the partners for support by graduate student in data collection. For discussion of options, please contact with a note on the subproject of interest.