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The Relationship Between Behavioural and Psychosocial Factors Among Brazilians in Quarantine Due to COVID-19

17 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2020

See all articles by Alberto Filgueiras

Alberto Filgueiras

Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)

Matthew Stults-Kolehmainen

Yale University - Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH)



Background: During quarantine, both physical and mental health are a concern. To the same extent that physicians are a scarce resource during this crisis, psychiatrists and psychologists are also limited in number. In order to help practitioners and public managers to decide where to put their mental health resources, the present research investigated the relationship between stress, depression and state anxiety levels with sociodemographic and behavioural variables.

Methods: Data were collected in Brazil between March 18 and 22, 2020 in 1,468 volunteers during quarantine. Participants with history or current mental health illnesses were excluded leaving 1,460 individuals in the final sample. The online assessment included instruments for psychological stress, depression and state anxiety; whereas, a sociodemographic and behavioural questionnaire with 15 items was used to assess other factors. A multiple linear regression was performed for each psychological dimension so a hierarchy of independent variables could be developed.

Findings: Stress, depression and state anxiety levels were all predicted by gender (women higher than men), quality of nutrition, attendance in tele-psychotherapy, exercise frequency, presence of elderly persons in quarantine with the person, obligation to work outside, level of education (more educated, lesser risk for mental illness) and age (younger age, greater risk). Having a perceived risk factor for COVID-19 predicted depression and state anxiety, but not stress. Finally, the presence of children in quarantine with the participant was a protective factor for depression.

Interpretation: Even though this research is limited by its cross-sectional design, it is possible to infer that mental health varies by demographic attributes, obligations and health behaviours. Those who report higher distress must work outside during quarantine, live with an elderly person and carry a risk factor for COVID-19, among other factors. Identifying those who are most vulnerable would help to prioritize those who may need the greatest psychological aid and assist public health practitioners in developing support strategies.

Funding Statement: This study was supported by the Fundação Carlos Chagas de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) and the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) through the Brazilian Government Programm PROAP.

Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethics Approval Statement: The project of the present research was approved by the institution’s Ethics Committee before data collection. All procedures follow the Brazilian Legislation (i.e., Resolution #196/96 of the Brazilian National Health Council) and the Declaration of Helsinki.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Psychology; Quarantine; Mental Health

Suggested Citation

Filgueiras, Alberto and Stults-Kolehmainen, Matthew, The Relationship Between Behavioural and Psychosocial Factors Among Brazilians in Quarantine Due to COVID-19 (3/31/2020). Available at SSRN: or

Alberto Filgueiras (Contact Author)

Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) ( email )

Rua Tonelero, 380 apt. 804
Copacabana, 22030-000

Matthew Stults-Kolehmainen

Yale University - Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH)

New Haven, CT
United States

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