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The Psychological Impact of Quarantine and How to Reduce It: Rapid Review of the Evidence

31 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2020

See all articles by Samantha K. Brooks

Samantha K. Brooks

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Rebecca K. Webster

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Louise E. Smith

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Lisa Woodland

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Simon Wessely

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Neil Greenberg

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

G. James Rubin

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

More...

Abstract

The January 2020 coronavirus outbreak has seen many countries plan to ‘self-isolate’ or quarantine people who have potentially come into contact with the infection. Decisions on how to apply quarantine should be based on best available evidence. We conducted a rapid review of the psychological impact of quarantine using three electronic databases. 3166 papers were found and 24 included in the review. The majority of reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion and anger. Stressors included longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss and stigma. Some suggested long-lasting effects. Where quarantine is deemed necessary, officials should quarantine for no longer than necessary; provide clear rationale for quarantine and information about protocols; and ensure sufficient supplies are provided. Appeals to altruism by reminding the public about the benefits of quarantine to wider society can be beneficial.

Funding: The research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King’s College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with the University of East Anglia and Newcastle University. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care, or Public Health England.

Declaration of Interest: We declare no competing interests.

Keywords: Quarantine; Isolation; Coronavirus; nCov; Wuhan; Psychological well being; Mental health; Infectious diseases

Suggested Citation

Brooks, Samantha K. and Webster, Rebecca K. and Smith, Louise E. and Woodland, Lisa and Wessely, Simon and Greenberg, Neil and Rubin, G. James, The Psychological Impact of Quarantine and How to Reduce It: Rapid Review of the Evidence (2/3/2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3532534 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3532534

Samantha K. Brooks (Contact Author)

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine ( email )

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Rebecca K. Webster

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Louise E. Smith

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Lisa Woodland

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Simon Wessely

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Neil Greenberg

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

G. James Rubin

University of London - Department of Psychological Medicine

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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