Together with Dr Miguel Farias, I co-lead a large international survey on the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns in collaboration with researchers from the University of Oxford, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. We recruited 8,229 participants from 79 countries worldwide (in March-April 2020), and found that levels of anxiety and depression were elevated in many countries, in particular the UK, USA, and Brazil.
Reduced psychological well-being was associated with a lower sense of control and increased social isolation. However, engaging in adaptive coping, communicating frequently with close ones, and governmental actions which demonstrate support in a public health crisis mitigated some of the ill effects of prolonged lockdown.
We conclude that citizens and governments can work together to adapt better to restrictive but necessary measures during the current and future pandemics, and are now working on longitudinal follow-ups.