U of I study finds fear of COVID-19, extended periods of quarantine lead to negative psychological health

The hidden toll of coronavirus

MOSCOW, Idaho — A new study from the University of Idaho suggests that fear of COVID-19 results in negative psychological health.

The study also showed that extended periods of quarantine result in depression.

Clarissa Richardson, assistant professor of psychology at U of I, said a series of surveys were conducted on a pool of 300 participants nationwide. The study was intended to determine the psychological effects of the pandemic and showed that people who reported high levels of quarantine also reported high levels of depression and, in some case, PTSD symptoms.

“Fear surrounding COVID-19 largely predicted negative psychological health and was significantly correlated with PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety and stress,” Richardson said. “Yet, those with higher fear also were more likely to engage in precautionary behaviors than those with lower fear.”

The surveys also included an inquiry of mask-wearing habits, explored perceptions of the effectiveness of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and examined political leanings of respondents.

“Political affiliation predicted engagement in precautionary behaviors, with Democrats significantly more likely to quarantine, physically distance, wear a mask and believe in the effectiveness of masks than other party affiliates,” Richardson said.

Richardson said the research could be used to better target a broader audience with current data on mask efficacy and to garner mental health resources for people undergoing long-term quarantines.

If you need help, you are encouraged to reach out to one of the following resources:

  • Inland Northwest Behavioral Health Hospital – 509.992.1888
  • Frontier Behavioral Health Crisis Line – 509.838.4428
  • Lutheran Community Services – 509.747.8224
  • Washington Listens – 833.681.0211
  • CHAS Health – 509.444.8200
  • Northern Idaho Crisis Center – 208.625.4884
  • North Idaho Community Mental Health – 208.265.6798

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