UAlg researchers study the impact of quarantine on the mental health of the Portuguese during COVID-19


A group of teachers and researchers from the Higher School of Health of the University of Algarve is coordinating an international study in Portugal that aims to assess the impact of quarantine or isolation on the mental health of the Portuguese population, resulting from the pandemic situation of COVID- 19.

Researchers from the University of Évora, the School of Health of the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria and Brazilian universities are also participating in this project.

The first phase of the study is complete and the public presentation of the preliminary results is being prepared. In mainland Portugal and islands 918 people were surveyed during lockdown. The average age of the participants was approximately 43 years, with 42% being married and more than 70% of respondents were women. Of those married, 42% reported symptoms of depression (35.8%) and generalised anxiety (20%).

From the data found, the presence of depressive symptoms and generalised anxiety is evident, particularly associated with the female gender (about 2 times higher than men) and in younger individuals (about 2 times higher in young people). Depressive symptoms and generalised anxiety were more likely to appear in younger people, essentially women, who were dissatisfied with their health and economic performance and also in people who reported being not very religious.

There will be a second phase of this project six months after the first contact with the study subjects, taking place in a new moment of evaluation of the same concepts for comparative purposes.