Team to study if writing about lockdown helps you cope

A University of Manchester team of psychologists are to study if writing about difficult or emotionally disturbing experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown can help your emotional wellbeing.

Anyone who is above the age of 18 and who has been under quarantine or self-isolation for at least 7 days can participate in the online survey.

The study is targeted at people living in China, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.

Previous studies of the SARS epidemic have found that quarantine can induce stigma, fears, frustration, and feeling of isolation during and after quarantine.

Dr Warren Mansell, who is a member of the study team, said: “Since quarantine has affected millions of people across the world, we feel it’s important to identify effective interventions to improve mental well-being.

“Studies have shown that expressive writing – a form of ‘journaling’ – has a modest effect on improving mental health.

“It is very easy to administrate; it is scalable; and, people can complete it at home without any face-to-face contacts.”

“Since no study has been done on the effect of expressive writing on mental health during quarantine, we propose to do that.”

The team will analyse the writing provided by participants and capture the difficulties that most people experience.

That, they hope, will also reveal the challenges we may face, help advise people in need and even policy makers.

The multilingual team of researchers – Chung Mak, Tingjun Ye, Piers Gebbia, and Dr Warren Mansell – also hope to explore if writing is beneficial across different countries hit heavily by coronavirus.

Anyone who wants to take part in the survey should visit the online survey

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