Social Distancing during the Covid-19 Pandemic as a Predictor of Daily Psychological, Social, and Health-related Outcomes
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, striking public health measures have been implemented to encourage physical distancing in order to slow the spread of disease. However, the impact of these measures on health and wellbeing is not well understood. In the current study a daily diary methodology was used to investigate the effects of social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic on a variety of outcomes with 230 undergraduate students. Participants completed an online diary for 3 days, reporting on daily social distancing behaviors, psychological wellbeing/resources, social/interpersonal connection with others, health behaviors, and health outcomes. Overall, daily social distancing (close adherence to social distancing guidelines) was associated with decreases in psychological wellbeing/resources, less social/interpersonal connection with others (including technology-mediated communication), fewer positive health behaviors, and increased reports of stress-related physical illness symptoms. Discussion centers on implications of these findings as well as the importance of identifying ways to mitigate the effects of these necessary but costly measures on health and wellbeing.
Ford, M.B. (2021). Social Distancing during the Covid-19 Pandemic as a Predictor of Daily Psychological, Social, and Health-related Outcomes. Journal of General Psychology, 148, 249-271. doi.org/10.1080/00221309.2020.1860890