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Countrywide quarantine only mildly increased anxiety level during COVID-19 outbreak in China

By Wei Hu, Li Su, Juan Qiao, Jing Zhu, Yi Zhou

Posted 04 Apr 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.01.20041186

In the recent outbreak of COVID-19, many countries have taken various kinds of quarantine measures to slow down the explosive spreading of COVID-19. Although these measures were proven to be successful in stopping the outbreak in China, the potential adverse effects of countrywide quarantine have not been thoroughly investigated. In this study, we performed an online survey to evaluate the psychological effects of quarantine in China using Zung Self-rating Anxiety Scale in February 2020 when the outbreak was nearly peaked in China. Along with the anxiety scores, limited personal information such as age, gender, region, education, occupation and specifically, the type and duration of quarantine were collected for analysis. For a total number of 992 valid questionnaires, clinical significance of anxiety symptoms was observed in 9.58% respondents according to clinical diagnostic standards in China. Statistical results showed population with different age, education level, health status and personnel category responded differently. Other characteristics such as gender, marital status, region, and acquaintance with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 did not affect anxiety levels significantly. Respondents experienced different forms of quarantine showed different anxiety levels. Unexpectedly, longer durations of quarantine did not lead to significant increase of anxiety level. Our results suggest a rather mild psychological influence caused by the countrywide quarantine during COVID-19 outbreak in China and provided reference for other countries and regions to battle COVID-19.

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