Plain language summary

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). To curb the spread of the 2020 pandemic, social distancing, self-isolation and nationwide lockdown measures were put in place. These measures along with hygiene care are recognized as the most effective ways to curb the spread of disease. However; the weakening of social contacts can result in anxiety, frustration, panic attacks, loss or sudden increase of appetite, insomnia, depression, mood swings, delusions, fear, sleep disorders, and suicidal/domestic violence. The purpose of the study is to provide scientific data to help identify risk factors for the psychosocial strain during the COVID-19 outbreak. The study is an international cross-disciplinary online survey and was circulated in April 2020. 1047 replies were analysed from this preliminary phase. The results show a significant difference in all tested parameters and therefore reveal a large burden for mental wellbeing combined with a tendency towards an unhealthy lifestyle during, compared to before, the confinement enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic. These results highlight the importance for policy makers to consider strategies to promote wellbeing during future confinements.

Abstract

Although recognised as effective measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, social distancing and self-isolation have been suggested to generate a burden throughout the population. To provide scientific data to help identify risk factors for the psychosocial strain during the COVID-19 outbreak, an international cross-disciplinary online survey was circulated in April 2020. This report outlines the mental, emotional and behavioural consequences of COVID-19 home confinement. The ECLB-COVID19 electronic survey was designed by a steering group of multidisciplinary scientists, following a structured review of the literature. The survey was uploaded and shared on the Google online survey platform and was promoted by thirty-five research organizations from Europe, North Africa, Western Asia and the Americas. Questions were presented in a differential format with questions related to responses "before" and "during" the confinement period. 1047 replies (54% women) from Western Asia (36%), North Africa (40%), Europe (21%) and other continents (3%) were analysed. The COVID-19 home confinement evoked a negative effect on mental wellbeing and emotional status (P < 0.001; 0.43 ≤ d ≤ 0.65) with a greater proportion of individuals experiencing psychosocial and emotional disorders (+10% to +16.5%). These psychosocial tolls were associated with unhealthy lifestyle behaviours with a greater proportion of individuals experiencing (i) physical (+15.2%) and social (+71.2%) inactivity, (ii) poor sleep quality (+12.8%), (iii) unhealthy diet behaviours (+10%), and (iv) unemployment (6%). Conversely, participants demonstrated a greater use (+15%) of technology during the confinement period. These findings elucidate the risk of psychosocial strain during the COVID-19 home confinement period and provide a clear remit for the urgent implementation of technology-based intervention to foster an Active and Healthy Confinement Lifestyle AHCL).

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Neurological
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Confinement
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Physical exercise ; Psychosocial influences
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Stress and resilience ; Psychological
Functional Laboratory Testing : Not applicable

Methodological quality

Jadad score : Not applicable
Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Journal Article

Metadata

Nutrition Evidence keywords : Covid-19 ; Nutrition ; Diet ; Mental health ; Anxiety