Stress and anxiety: the price of lockdown

18 September 2020

In the first study to look at people’s coping styles during lockdown (17 to 26 April 2020), researchers confirmed that health anxieties were heightened, and those in vulnerable groups were more distressed as a result.

The research, published in American Psychologist, draws on survey responses from more than 800 people recruited online. A quarter of participants revealed significantly elevated anxiety and depression, exacerbated by lockdown and isolation. Nearly 15% reached clinical levels of health anxiety.

‘Some individuals have struggled to tolerate and adapt to these uncertainties – much more so than in normal times,’ said lead author Dr Hannah Rettie.

‘These results have important implications as we move to help people psychologically distressed by these challenging times.’

Those in vulnerable groups reported twice the rates of health-related anxiety in the general population.