Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether or not living alone or together throughout the lockdown had an impact on mood, perceived immune fitness, as well as the presence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
Methods: N = 505 participants completed an online survey, which included questions on living situations, as well as mood, perceived immune fitness and COVID-19 symptom presence and severity. These factors were assessed retrospectively for the time periods before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results: An overall decrease in mood was observed for both those living alone and together during the lockdown period. However, significantly larger increases in feelings of loneliness were observed for the group living alone. Furthermore, both groups reported decreases in perceived immune fitness, whereas only the group living alone reported a significant increase in COVID-19 symptom presence and severity. Moreover, significant correlations were found between perceived immune fitness, anxiety, and loneliness. These correlations were strongest in the group living alone. Lastly, positive correlations were found between perceived immune fitness and mood outcomes with being active, optimistic and the ability to cope with stress. Increased optimism, being more active and the adequate ability to cope with stress were associated with a reduced negative impact on perceived immune fitness.
Conclusion: The first COVID-19 lockdown period in the Netherlands was a challenging period for both people who lived alone and those living together, resulting in decreases in mood and poorer perceived immune fitness. Those living alone were, however, more heavily impacted by the lockdown restrictions. This was further reflected by the increased presence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms in people who lived alone during the first COVID-19 lockdown in The Netherlands.
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Hendriksen, P., Kiani, P., Garssen, J., Bruce, G. & Verster, J. 2021, 'Living alone or together during lockdown: association with mood, immune fitness and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms', Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 14, pp. 1947-1957. https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S332853