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Challenges to self-isolation among contacts of cases of COVID-19: a national telephone survey in Wales

By Kate Rebecca Isherwood, Richard G Kyle, Benjamin J Gray, Alisha R Davies

Posted 25 Jul 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.07.23.21261020

Objectives: To identify the specific challenges of self-isolation experienced by population sub-groups to better target and tailor support. Design: The Contact Adherence Behavioural Insights Study (CABINS) was a 15-minute telephone survey of confirmed contacts of cases of COVID-19 identified through the national NHS Wales Test Trace Protect (TTP) database. Methods: Confirmed contacts of cases of COVID-19 reached by TTP completed a 15-minute telephone survey (N = 2,027). Binary logistic regression models adjusted for age, gender, living alone, survey round, deprivation quintile (defined by the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation) and income precarity (financial security) determined which population sub-groups were more likely to experience challenges during self-isolation. Results: Younger people (aged 18-29 years) were 3 times more likely to report mental health concerns (Adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR]: 3.16, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 2.05-4.86) and 2 times more likely to report loneliness (aOR: 1.96, CI: 1.37-2.81) compared to people aged over 60 years. Women were 1.5 times more likely to experience mental health concerns (aOR: 1.51, 95% CI: 1.20-1.92) compared to men. People with high/very high levels of income precarity were 8 times more likely to report financial challenges (aOR: 7.73, CI: 5.10-11.74) and 3 times more likely to report mental health concerns than their more financially secure counterparts (aOR: 3.08, CI: 2.22-4.28). Conclusions: Self-isolation is particularly challenging for those with younger people, women and precarious incomes. Providing enhanced emotional, financial and social support and signposting to these groups is required to minimise the harms of self-isolation.

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