Social restrictions, a public health measure to curb the rate of infectious diseases, increases social isolation, reducing the frequency of in-person interactions, which could lead to increased loneliness. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of loneliness and social isolation . In cross-sectional studies, stay-home orders contributed to higher depression and loneliness, together with lower income and younger age, in the USA , and were associated with higher anxiety, depression, and loneliness in Germany .
My colleagues and I examined the impact of social restrictions on loneliness, depression, and social anxiety over the first six months of the pandemic . In this study, we coded country-mandated social restrictions by reviewing government websites and extracted a social restrictions severity through an independent coding process. As country-mandated lockdown and social restrictions ease, we found that loneliness reduced, depression remained unchanged, and social anxiety symptoms increased as social restrictions severity eased in the first six months of the pandemic. You are more likely to report higher loneliness, depression, and social anxiety symptoms if you are younger (aged 18-25), unemployed, had lower income, and lived alone.