Article Review: Brooks, S., et al. (2020). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: Rapid review of the evidence.

Katelyn Yunes, MS

WKPIC Doctoral Intern


The researchers performed an article review of the psychological impact of quarantining. A search in three electronic databases yielded 3166 papers, 24 of which matched criteria (e.g., at least 24-hour quarantine, report data on the prevalence of psychological wellbeing, peer-reviewed) and were extensively reviewed. Of all symptoms noted within these articles, there was a high prevalence of irritability and low mood in individuals who were quarantined. Other symptoms included, grief, anxiety-induced insomnia, anger, emotional exhaustion, and trauma-related stress symptoms. History of psychiatric diagnosis was associated with prolonged anger and anxiety (i.e., 4-6 months) after discontinuing quarantine. Generally, health-care workers experienced more severe symptoms of trauma-related stress and stigmatization. The researchers found that duration of quarantine, fear of infection, boredom and frustration, inadequate supplies, and inadequate information were common significant stressors among the general population. Whereas, finances and stigma for those who had to be quarantined were persistent stressors following quarantine. Overall, increased duration of quarantine and whether the quarantine was voluntary were associated with poorer psychological outcomes. The researchers suggested that provision of accurate information of the disease and reasons for quarantine, access to supplies to cover basic needs, review of stress-management strategies (e.g., social networking, telephone support lines, online support groups), and delivery of special support for health-care workers may be helpful to diminish the psychological consequences of quarantining.



Brooks, S., Webster, R., Smith, L., Woodland, L., Wessely, S., Neil, G., & Gideon, R. (2020). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: Rapid review of the evidence. The Lancet, 395(10227), 912–920.

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