Prof. Lin Lu's Lab: The impact of quarantine on mental health status among general population in China during the COVID-19 pandemic




Quarantine and isolation measures urgently adopted to control the COVID-19 pandemic might potentially have negative psychological and social effects. We conducted this cross-sectional, nationwide study to ascertain the psychological effect of quarantine and identify factors associated with mental health outcomes among population quarantined to further inform interventions of mitigating mental health risk especially for vulnerable groups under pandemic conditions. Sociodemographic data, attitudes toward the COVID-19, and mental health measurements of 56,679 participants from 34 provinces in China were collected by an online survey from February 28 to March 11, 2020. Of the 56,679 participants included in the study (mean [SD] age, 36.0 [8.2] years), 27,149 (47.9%) were male and 16,454 (29.0%) ever experienced home confinement or centralized quarantine during COVID-19 outbreak. Compared those without quarantine and adjusted for potential confounders, quarantine measures were associated with increased risk of total psychological outcomes (prevalence, 34.1% vs 27.3%; odds ratio [OR], 1.34; 95% CI, 1.28-1.39; P < 0.001). Multivariable logistic regression analyses showed that vulnerable groups of the quarantined population included those with pre-existing mental disorders or chronic physical diseases, frontline workers, those in the most severely affected areas during outbreak, infected or suspected patients, and those who are less financially well-off. Complying with quarantine, being able to take part in usual work, and having adequate understanding of information related to the outbreak were associated with less mental health issues. These results suggest that quarantine measures during COVID-19 pandemic are associated with increased risk of experiencing mental health burden, especially for vulnerable groups. Further study is needed to establish interventions to reduce mental health consequences of quarantine and empower wellbeing especially in vulnerable groups under pandemic conditions.


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