Psychological consequences of COVID-19 home confinement
The ECLB-COVID19 multicenter study
Public health recommendations and government measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have enforced restrictions on daily-living. While these measures are imperative to abate the spreading of COVID-19, the impact of these restrictions on mental health and emotional wellbeing is undefined. Therefore, an international online survey (ECLB-COVID19) was launched on April 6, 2020 in seven languages to elucidate the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on mental health and emotional wellbeing. 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. All participants were asked for their mental wellbeing (SWEMWS) and depressive symptoms (SMFQ) with regard to “during” and “before” home confinement. Analysis was conducted on the first 1047 replies (54% women) from Asia (36%), Africa (40%), Europe (21%) and other (3%). The COVID-19 home confinement had a negative effect on both mental-wellbeing and on mood and feelings. Specifically, a significant decrease (p < .001 and Δ% = 9.4%) in total score of the SWEMWS questionnaire was noted. More individuals (+12.89%) reported a low mental wellbeing “during” compared to “before” home confinement. Furthermore, results from the mood and feelings questionnaire showed a significant increase by 44.9% (p < .001) in SMFQ total score with more people (+10%) showing depressive symptoms “during” compared to “before” home confinement. The ECLB-COVID19 survey revealed an increased psychosocial strain triggered by the home confinement. To mitigate this high risk of mental disorders and to foster an Active and Healthy Confinement Lifestyle (AHCL), a crisis-oriented interdisciplinary intervention is urgently needed.