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Open AccessArticle

Social Distancing Compliance under COVID-19 Pandemic and Mental Health Impacts: A Population-Based Study

1
School of Nursing, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China
2
School of Public Health, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6692; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186692
Received: 12 August 2020 / Revised: 8 September 2020 / Accepted: 9 September 2020 / Published: 14 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19)
The success of public health measures for controlling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic relies on population compliance. We analyzed compliance with social distancing and its associations with mental health. The Hong Kong COVID-19 Health Information Survey was conducted from 9–23 April 2020 on 1501 adults randomly sampled for landline telephone interviews (n = 500) and online surveys (n = 1001). Compliance with social distancing and staying-at-home, stress (Perceived Stress Scale-4), anxiety (General Anxiety Disorders-2), and depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-2) were collected. The associations between mental health symptoms and compliance were examined by multivariable regression models. Of the 1501 respondents (52.5% female, 72.3% aged 18–59 years), 74.2%, 72.7%, and 59.7% reported avoiding going out, going to crowded places, and attending social gatherings of more than four people, respectively. Most respondents had stayed-at-home for at least four of the past seven days (58.4%; mean 4.12, Standard Deviation 2.05). Adoption, perceived effectiveness, and perceived compliance with social distancing were associated with lower stress levels and less anxiety and depressive symptoms (all p < 0.01). However, more days stayed-at-home were associated with more depressive symptoms (adjusted Odds Ratio 1.09; 95%Confidence Interval 1.00, 1.18). The long-term psychological impact in relation to social distancing and staying-at-home requires further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; social distancing; compliance; stay-at-home; mental health; public health intervention COVID-19; social distancing; compliance; stay-at-home; mental health; public health intervention
MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, S.Z.; Wong, J.Y.H.; Wu, Y.; Choi, E.P.H.; Wang, M.P.; Lam, T.H. Social Distancing Compliance under COVID-19 Pandemic and Mental Health Impacts: A Population-Based Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6692.

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