Research on the impact of social isolation among vulnerable populations in the Netherlands.

Starting April 13, a consortium of researchers led by the University of Amsterdam (Dr Danny de Vries & Prof Jeannette Pols) started a study (funded by ZonMW) on the social impact of COVID-19. To reduce the spread of the virus, it is important to keep physical distance and stay at home. However, we know very little about the social impact of these measures on vulnerable populations.

Older people already have fewer social contacts but are now asked to also keep distance. In nursing homes. visitors are no longer allowed. People with a learning disability, psychiatric problems received less home-based care. What does that do with them? Homeless people are in precarious situations, just like young families where the domestic environment is not perceived as safe. What kind of problems do these people experience? Do they find solutions? How can policy support and alleviate some of these problems?

In this study, we regularly talk with people from vulnerable populations and their caregivers about their experience with social distancing and home isolation. We also survey nearly 2000 older people living at home and with caregivers, family members of those living in nursing homes across the Netherlands. The first research results will be expected halfway May and data collection until the summer for qualitative research and beyond the summer for the surveying. With the stories and numbers we will analyse the meaning of social isolation and develop recommendations for policy.

Visit the website

APH contact persons: 
Jeanette Pols:
Danny de Vries:

This is an initiative taken by APH researchers as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have an initiative to be listed as well, please email us:

See all APH COVID-19 initiatives