COVID-19 quarantine associated with negative impacts on mental health and exercise

1. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada was associated with increased depression, anxiety, and distress as compared to pre-pandemic rates.

2. As compared to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the second wave individuals were more likely to engage in audiovisual media and less likely to engage in physical activity.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lockdown periods interrupting daily life for individuals globally. A combination of increased stress about the uncertainty of the pandemic, lack of access to mental health services, and disrupted routine may impact both mental health outcomes and health-related activities.

The purpose of the present cross-sectional study was to evaluate the impact of the second Canadian COVID-19 lockdown period (September 24th to December 8th, 2020) on health and wellness activities. A survey was distributed to Canadian adults with the exclusion of those living in Yukon, Nunavut, and the North West Territories. The survey included demographic data, questions about mental health, and questions about daily activities. The mental health portion of the survey utilized the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), and Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10).

A total of 221 participants completed the survey of which 73.2% were female. Distress and anxiety scores were highest in those who were unable to work during COVID-19 or who reported a household income of less than $25,000. Depression scores were highest in individuals with a high school diploma or less. Over half of participants (58.7%) reported that they felt that the pandemic had a negative impact on their mental health. Furthermore, the second wave of COVID-19 was associated with an increase in use of audiovisual media and decrease in physical activities. This study was limited in that baseline measurements were not available in participants for comparison. Furthermore, participants reported higher socioeconomic status and education levels; therefore, results may not be generalizable. Nonetheless, the results of this study were significant in suggesting the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the mental health of adults, with many participating in varying activities to maintain mental wellness.

Click to read the study in Journal of Affective Disorders Reports

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