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 Table of Contents    
LETTERS TO EDITOR  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 591-592
Psychological impact of COVID-19 lockdown: An online survey from India: Few concerns


Department of Psychiatry, District Hospital, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Submission24-Aug-2020
Date of Decision16-Sep-2020
Date of Acceptance19-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication10-Oct-2020
 

How to cite this article:
Shukla A. Psychological impact of COVID-19 lockdown: An online survey from India: Few concerns. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:591-2

How to cite this URL:
Shukla A. Psychological impact of COVID-19 lockdown: An online survey from India: Few concerns. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 24];62:591-2. Available from: https://www.indianjpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2020/62/5/591/297784




Sir,

There are a few concerns that I would like to bring to your scrutiny after reading the accelerated research titled “Psychological impact of COVID-19 lockdown: An online survey from India” published by Grover et al.[1]

The online survey seems to have lapsed on multiple methodological grounds. Although the authors state that the strengths of the survey are its translations in 11 different languages, a significant flaw in the multilingual translation is hard to miss one's observation. The required steps for translating the survey tool for each language should have been carried out separately and independently.[2] This process has not been mentioned throughout. There is no clarity on the efforts taken to keep the content of the questions semantically similar, keep the question format similar within the bounds of the target language, and retain measurement properties. This could raise an apprehension about the validity of the survey tool itself.

Notwithstanding the immense shortcomings in snowballing, a nonprobability sampling technique best suited for hard to find population and use of WhatsApp groups for data collection,[3] the scales used for assessment are fraught with drawbacks. The traditional assessment tools (e.g., Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7) could have led to under- or overdiagnosis of the cases emerging in this current pandemic due to their low psychometric properties (e.g., face validity).[4] Considering the vast area covered under the survey, it is intriguing that the authors have also failed to discuss the geographical location of the participants of this enormous survey.

Regarding the results, the median duration for responding to the survey was the 2nd day of the survey itself (12th day post lockdown). There seems to be data missing in [Table 1] for the variable “level of working.” The total figures do not add up to 100%, and there is no description of the variable “other,” for which 147 (8.7%) of the responses were given.{Table 1}

Survey sites like SurveyMonkey used in this study do not technically support one device one response, as mentioned by the authors.[5] Responses can be limited to rather one browser one response, which can be easily circumvented by clearing cookies. Also, using a different browser or a second SIM card, the same person may participate in a survey more than once.[3] It should also be noted that such websites support getting paid responses as well.[6] These infirmities in ensuring data safety are sufficient to cast doubt on the outcome of the survey. Finally, the authors admit that the response rate for the survey was low but have kept the readers blind from the actual number of participants approached. Nonresponse bias could be a deadly blow to both the reliability and validity of survey study findings. For example, if a survey achieves only a 30% response rate, the study suffers from a nonresponse bias of 70%.

COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges and provided an opportunity to study the psychological impact of lockdown on people. It also led to adapting online surveys at never before pace. However, the above research, which intended to present the psychological impact on the general population, has not demonstrated the real picture of the actual impact due to the above-discussed factors.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Grover S, Sahoo S, Mehra A, Avasthi A, Tripathi A, Subramanyan A, et al. Psychological impact of COVID-19 lockdown: An online survey from India. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:354-62.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
Sousa VD, Rojjanasrirat W. Translation, adaptation and validation of instruments or scales for use in cross-cultural health care research: A clear and user-friendly guideline. J Eval Clin Pract 2011;17:268-74.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Ameen S, Praharaj SK. Problems in using WhatsApp groups for survey research. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:327-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
4.
Ransing R, Ramalho R, Orsolini L, Adiukwu F, Gonzalez-Diaz JM, Larnaout A, et al. Can COVID-19 related mental health issues be measured? Brain Behav Immun 2020;88:32-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Surveymonkey.com California. Survey Monkey. Available from: https://help.surveymonkey.com/articles/en_US/kb/What-settings-allow-multiple responses-from-one-computer#One. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 08].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Surveymonkey.com California. Survey Monkey. Available from: https://www.surveymonkey.com/welcome/sem-survey-respondents-3/. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 08].  Back to cited text no. 6
    

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Correspondence Address:
Avinash Shukla
Department of Psychiatry, District Hospital, Raipur, Chhattisgarh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_1012_20

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