Global study into how we can successfully cope with COVID-19

The lives of millions of people worldwide have changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People have found various ways to cope with these changes. To map and analyse these various coping mechanisms, researchers worldwide have set up a joint project: Coping with Corona (CoCo). The Dutch contribution to this project is coordinated by Utrecht University’s William Hale, Susan Branje and Jaap Denissen.

coping with corona

Together with renowned researchers from over 25 other countries, including Germany, the UK, Italy, the US, Brazil, Russia and Australia, the Utrecht University scientists are looking for answers to a range of questions, including the question as to what strategies are most effective in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individualised interventions

Through the project, clinical psychologist Hale aims to gain more insight into the differences between the various mechanisms used worldwide to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Hale: ‘I hope that we can develop individualised interventions for the current pandemic and any future crises.’ 

Four weeks

To enable a fine-grained analysis of the complex psychological processes involved, the psychologists are applying an innovative research design. According to fellow researcher Professor Markus Bühner of LMU Munich, the study is ‘unique from a research perspective’. Bühner: ‘During a period of four weeks, the participants receive support and are regularly invited to provide concise information about their daily experiences. This sampling method on the basis of experience surveys gives us an authentic insight into the emotions, concerns, hopes and daily social experiences of the participants.’ 

Psychological studies into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic tend to neglect cultural, political and geographic factors.

Personalised assistance

The researchers hope that they will be able to use this data to gain more insight into why people respond differently to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Professor Maarten van Zalk of Osnabrück University, who obtained his PhD from Utrecht University in 2009, we need to understand the differences in individual responses worldwide to be able to provide individualised assistance to help people cope in crises such as the current pandemic. Van Zalk: ‘Psychological studies into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic tend to neglect cultural, political and geographic factors. That is why we strive to include as many countries as possible, representing as much diversity as possible, in our study.’


Participants take part in an online survey that runs for four weeks. The survey is available in English, Dutch and several other languages. For more information about the project, go to the Coping with Corona website