Religion et spiritualité des seniors en temps de COVID

Religion and spirituality of elderly people in times of COVID

Religion and spirituality of elderly people in times of COVID

Applicants:  Pierre-Yves Brandt (UNIL), Etienne Rochat (CHUV)

Funding : FNS

Duration : 01.06.2021 - 31.05.2022

Project collaborators: Laeticia Stauffer, Grégory Dessart,  Pascal Tanner, Zhargalma Dandarova-Robert

The main objective of the project is to gain a better understanding of the potential role of spirituality and religion for mental health, morale, well-being and quality of life, as perceived by people, during the current pandemic crisis. Four specific aims were defined:

  • To study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health, well-being and quality of life of people aged 65 years and older;
  • To identify the resources (psychological, social, religious and spiritual) used by older people to cope with stress during the pandemic and to explore possible changes in religious/spiritual beliefs and practices due to the COVID situation;
  • To study the possible role of spirituality/religion in older adults' engagement in voluntary work, and more specifically in volunteering with the elderly;
  • To identify older people’s possible needs and expectations in spiritual care during the COVID crisis and if institutional or associative elderly care services could be improved with regard to spiritual and religious care.

Population: Two types of population were targeted: (1) Older people involved in organized volunteering and, consequently, representing a very active part of the senior population. (2) Elderly recipients of home care nursing services, who, compared to the previous population, exhibit greater dependence on others and are largely exposed to stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study design: a mixed-method approach including quantitative surveys and qualitative semi-structured interviews (following a nested-sample design). Materials were elaborated by the research team, building upon existing standard questions to fit those two different populations, respectively. For both types of population, a shared ground was reached to allow comparisons.


For more information, please contact Professor Pierre-Yves Brandt :