COVID-19 lockdown affects people mentally as well as physically
Early evidence of people’s health conditions after one-month lockdown in China can help other countries that have just started confinement to understand its impact on mental health.
Led by the University of Adelaide’s Dr Stephen Zhang from the Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Commercialisation Centre (ECIC), the study undertaken into 369 adults living in China, has identified adults with existing health conditions and
those who stopped working as most at risk of worse
mental and physical health.
“The study offers somewhat of a ‘crystal ball’ into the mental health of Australian residents once they have been in the lockdown for one month.”Dr Stephen Zhang
What has been surprising from the study is how more active people have been impacted by confinement.
Study participants who exercised for more than 2.5 hours per day reported worse life satisfaction in more affected locations while those who exercised for half an hour or less during the lockdown reported positive life satisfaction.
“We were really surprised by the findings around exercising hours because it appears to be counter-intuitive,” said lead author Dr Zhang.
“It’s possible adults who exercised less could better justify or rationalise their inactive lifestyles in more severely affected cities. More research is needed but these early findings suggest we need to pay attention to more physically active individuals, who might be more frustrated by the restrictions.
“The study offers somewhat of a ‘crystal ball’ into the mental health of Australian residents once they have been in the lockdown for one month.”
This is the first study on mental health issues during COVID-19 from an Australian institution.