How are you? A sociological case report of the COVID-19 pandemic from professionals in Italy

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Nicolo' Marchesini Sveva Avveduto Giuliana Rubbia


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives. The first and unexpected lockdown happened in Italy in the Spring of 2020 and has seriously upset people's daily routine, working organisation, socialisation, and interactions with colleagues and relatives. To overcome people's physical isolation and collect impressions, the "How are you?" online questionnaire has been designed as a potential conversation among friends during home confinement for all but essential reasons. What impact had this situation had on people?

The study investigates some of the social and relational consequences the first lockdown in Italy had on a group of professionals in terms of similarities and differences regarding changes and limitations on their work and daily routines, primarily focusing on the emotions felt at that time.

Text mining techniques have been applied to almost one hundred replies, as well as an unsupervised method of emotion analysis; the latter is used for the entire sample and a subgroup consisting only of female scientists.

Our findings show that during the Spring 2020 lockdown, a moment of physical and relational confinement was bear, causing bewilderment due to several factors. In terms of work-life balance, the overlap between public and private space, and the established daily routine to return, while regarding the relational sphere, the lack of physical contacts and interactions - such as support for dependent elderly - that technology has only partly been able to fill. Two primary emotions emerge from the entire sample: acceptance of the virus containment measures imposed and restlessness about the present and future. The group of female scientists appears more optimistic.

The experienced situation of deprivation of individual freedoms such as movement and social contact, however, has brought along a new awareness of the frailties of our society, refocusing attention on the importance of scientific research, ecological transition, and, more generally, a reflection on our development model.

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How to Cite
MARCHESINI, Nicolo'; AVVEDUTO, Sveva; RUBBIA, Giuliana. How are you? A sociological case report of the COVID-19 pandemic from professionals in Italy. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 2, feb. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 mar. 2023. doi:
Case Reports