Preliminary findings on the associations between mental health indicators and social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic
Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Aim: Our study investigates associations between social isolation and indicators of general mental health, wellbeing, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and stress in Brazilian adults. Variables to measure aspects to ease the isolation impact (ease-isolating variables) were also included. Method: 539 Brazilian adults were recruited by convenience from March 25 to April 07, 2020. We administered a questionnaire on isolation behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO-5, the GHQ-12, the CLA,
... GHQ-12, the CLA, the GAD-7, the PSS-10, and the CES-D. To analyze data, we relied upon the network analysis approach. Results: COVID-19 isolation variables showed positive relationships with mental health indicators, and easeisolating variables presented mixed associations with mental health indicators. For instance, satisfaction with the quality of social interactions connected strongly and positively with the well-being variable, while negatively with loneliness and general psychological symptoms. Conclusions: Our hypotheses were partially confirmed. We can conclude that the damage to mental health associated with social isolation during the pandemic can be minimized by maintaining satisfactory interpersonal relationships. We have three direct recommendations: mental health professionals should (a) elaborate strategies that contemplate the use of virtual tools to alleviate depressive feelings resulting from isolation, (b) give particular attention to risk groups that are most impacted by the isolation imposed by a pandemic situation and may suffer from loneliness, and (c) consider anxiety control strategies for the anxiogenic adverse reaction generated by the worldwide alert in times of disease outbreaks.