Social Isolation and Anxiety Disorder During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Lockdown in China

Shiyou Wu, Mengni Yao, Chunxia Deng, Flavio F. Marsiglia, Wenjie Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures have had a profound impact on the emotions, anxiety, and mental health of affected communities. Despite this, there is a lack of knowledge about the possible generational and geographical differences in the effects on the mental health of individuals. This study examines the impact of COVID-19 related quarantine on symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders (GAD) among parents and children (N = 4503). It also compares the outcomes of residents from the initial COVID-19 epicenter of Wuhan to those in surrounding areas. Subgroup analyses were conducted by child and parent samples, and by Wuhan city and other cities in the Hubei province. Propensity score radius matching and ordinary least squares regressions were used to examine the relationship between quarantine and GAD symptoms. Results showed that quarantine had more psychological impact on parents than children, regardless of geographic location. Parents that experienced quarantine in Wuhan city, reported a significantly higher level of symptoms of GAD than those that did not. Parents from other cities showed no such difference. For both children and parents, interpersonal communication about COVID-19 and social media exposure to pandemic-related information were linked to GAD symptoms. Targeted policies and interventions are needed to address the psychological impacts of COVID-19 lockdown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Anxiety disorders
  • COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Pandemic
  • Quarantine
  • Social isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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