An article titled “Quality of life under the COVID-19 quarantine,” published in 2021 in the ISOQOL-affiliated journal Quality of Life Research, was one of the journal’s most-downloaded papers in 2021. The study aimed to evaluate the health related quality of life (HRQL) and anxiety levels of people in Portugal who were quarantined at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The authors found three main results within their study:

  1. People quarantined at home reported higher anxiety and lower HRQL levels.
  2. People with more anxiety tended to have a lower HRQL.
  3. Women and elderly individuals experienced the highest levels of anxiety and the poorest HRQL.

The physical and psychological aspects of well-being, such as physical health, emotional well-being, and mental health, were particularly affected by the quarantine. Furthermore, social aspects, including social relationships and participation in activities, were significantly impacted due to the restrictions and limitations imposed by the quarantine measures.

The study also identified factors that influenced the variations in individuals’ experiences during the quarantine. Factors such as occupation status, responsibilities during the quarantine, age, gender, socioeconomic status, and pre-existing health conditions were found to play a role in shaping the impact of the quarantine on HRQL.

While these findings are similar to those of previous studies, this study was one of the first to assess HRQL and anxiety levels while the quarantine was still in place. There was a high level of uncertainty during this time, with people not knowing how long the quarantine would last, which may have contributed to higher levels of anxiety.

The study used an online questionnaire to gather data on quarantined individuals’ sociodemographic characteristics, feelings, duties, activities, levels of anxiety and HRQL. The data was then compared to the HRQL of the general Portuguese population before the pandemic, to present a fuller understanding of the quarantine’s effect.

These research findings carry significant implications for policymakers, healthcare providers, and individuals globally. By shedding light on the consequences of the COVID-19 quarantine, this study serves as a resource for the development of support systems to mitigate negative effects of quarantine measures on individuals’ well-being. It shows the importance and need for comprehensive strategies to support individuals in emergency situations such as quarantine, to prevent a decline in HRQL and ensure their physical, psychological, and social well-being.

To read the full journal article, click here.

This newsletter editorial represents the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ISOQOL. 

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The International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) is a global community of researchers, clinicians, health care professionals, industry professionals, consultants, and patient research partners advancing health related quality of life research (HRQL).

Together, we are creating a future in which patient perspective is integral to health research, care and policy.