Data and sample
A hypothetico-deductive technique allowed the exploratory research to be employed using a cross-sectional study over 3 months. A non-probability convenience sampling technique was employed for data collection. This method was considered the quickest, the most inexpensive sampling design for a large population, and the most relevant, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the sample selection, we targeted working-age Malaysians as the respondents for this study based on the definition of the working-age population provided by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (2020). Therefore, working-age Malaysians, either in or out of the labor force, between 15 and 64, were selected. As the sampling unit consisted of respondents still under parenting control, Malaysians under 18 in 2022 were excluded.
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (2020), the total population of Malaysians was 32.4 million, and the working-age population from age ranged between 18 and 64, was estimated to be 22.31 million (or 68.85%). While the number of working-age Malaysians within the labor force was 15.67 million (or 70%), the Department of Statistics Malaysia (2020) also reported that the remaining 6.64 million (or 30%) were outside the labor force (i.e., homemakers, schooling, retired, disabled). Due to broader accessibility to reach as many targeted respondents, this survey was electronically circulated to potential respondents through a snowballing technique to other respondents' acquaintances. We determined the sample size using G* Power 3.1, suggesting that a minimum sample size of 89 was sufficient to provide the value for the medium effect size for the F-test computation.
Before taking the online questionnaire, every Malaysian who volunteered to participate had to disclose their citizenship status through their electronic device (i.e., smartphone) since we provided the survey via Google Form. The respondents were assured that all information gathered would be utilized only for research purposes. Having ascertained the survey participants' eligibility, we invited them to respond to the rest of the questions. Most Malaysians are English oriented, so the questions used English as a communication medium. The structured questionnaire first asked whether they were a Malaysian citizen to establish the respondent's selection criteria. The main content of the questionnaire was divided into two sections: Section A covered the respondents' demographic information, and section B covered the dependent variable of this study, lifestyle during COVID-19.
A total of 133 Malaysian adult respondents responded voluntarily nationwide. Of the 133 submitted questionnaires, 112 (or 84%) were submitted, completed, and answered. Since the total of 112 was above the minimum sample size recommended by G* Power 3.1, this study considered the total of 112 responses appropriate for pursuing analysis. Hoyle (1995) supported that statistical analysis can be conducted with a minimum sample size of 100.
Instrument and measurement
The lifestyle during COVID-19
The lifestyle during COVID-19 is a variable of fundamental interest to us. Eighteen questions about Malaysians' lifestyle during COVID-19; the number of jobs traveling and staycations, body mass index (BMI), anxiety, the amount of sleeping time, the amount of time spent on outdoor indoor sports activities, physical exercises, religious activities, movies, drama series, social media, online shopping, meetings, and virtual games, the amounts of caffeine, fast food, and medical consumptions. They were all measured by using the five-semantic-differential- scale “Much Reduced (1) to Much Increased (5).” The scale rate in the middle represents “Stayed the Same (3).” Since COVID-19 has hugely affected the respondents' daily routine, the insertion of a midpoint on the 5-scale allows survey respondents to express a “Stayed the same” response between much reduced on one side and much increase on the other.
To determine the overall changes in Malaysians' lifestyle during COVID-19, the respondents' feedback for “Much Increased” would be rewarded five marks, “Somewhat Increased” would be awarded four marks, “Stayed the same” would be rewarded three marks, “Somewhat Reduced” would be awarded two marks, and “Much Reduced” would be awarded one mark. To calculate the mean of the lifestyle during COVID-19, the mean scores range between 1.00 and 1.99 marks indicating that COVID-19 has much reduced the routine activities of Malaysians. The score between 2.00 and 2.99 said somewhat reduced. Meanwhile, the midpoint score of 3.00 stayed the same, between 3.01 and 4.00 showed a somewhat increase, and 4.01 – 5.00 indicated a much increase. Mean results were required to employ the parametric statistical techniques in this study.
The demographic variables are the independent variables of this study. Demographic variables were respondents' gender (1 = Male, 2 = Female), marital status (1 = single, 2 = married, 3 = divorced) and race (1 = Malay, 2 = Non-Malay Bumiputera, 3 = Chinese, 4 = Indian), age (1 = 19–24 years old, 2 = 25–30 years old, 3 = 31–36 years old, 4 = 37–42 years old, 5 = 43–48 years old, 6 = 49–54 years old, and 7 = 55–60 years old), educational level (1 = secondary school, 2 = certificate level, 3 = diploma, 4 = professional qualification, 5 = bachelor's degree, 6 = masters' degree, 7 = doctoral degree), employment sector ( 1 = government, 2 = private, 3 = statutory bodies, 4 = self-employed, 5 = unemployed, 6 = students, 7 = retired) and monthly gross incomes (1 = less than RM 2500, 2 = RM 2500–RM 3169, 3 = 3970–RM 4849, 4 = 4850–RM 5879, 5 = RM 5880–RM 7099, 6 = RM 7110–RM 8699, 7 = RM 8700–RM 10,959, 8 = RM 10,690–RM 15,039, 9 = More than RM 15,039). We employed categorical and ordinal scales for measuring demographic variables. Precisely, gender, marital status, race, and employment sector were assessed by using a categorical scale, while an ordinal scale measured age, educational level, and monthly gross income.
Frequencies were performed to present descriptive characteristics. This study's demographics were presented as numbers (N) and frequencies (%), and it informed how many Malaysians gave each response. Frequencies were also performed to describe “The lifestyle during COVID-19.” In the reliability tests, Cronbach's Alpha of 0.70 is recommended as a high degree of internal consistency for indicating the homogeneity of the items in the measures that tap the dependent variables' construct. All items should be capable of independently measuring the same concept so that the respondents attach the same overall meaning to each item. Our demographic variables were much skewed. Therefore, most demographic variables were collapsed for performing ANOVA and other statistical analyses. Instead of removing the respondents from the sample, we recorded them by combining them with the other category. ANOVA was later carried out to understand whether the mean of the dependent variable was significantly distinct among the demographic characteristics, namely, age, educational level, employment sector, and monthly gross incomes. The Tukey’s HSD post hoc further verified the ANOVA results. All statistical analysis was conducted by using SPSS statistical program.