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Exploring the longitudinal relationship between lockdown policy stringency and public negative emotions among 120 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic: mediating role of population mobility

Gong, Weigang, Ju, Guodong, Zhu, Meng, Wang, Senhu, Guo, Wei and Chen, Yunsong (2022) Exploring the longitudinal relationship between lockdown policy stringency and public negative emotions among 120 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic: mediating role of population mobility. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13. ISSN 1664-0640

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Identification Number: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.753703

Abstract

Background: To limit the spread of COVID-19, governments worldwide have implemented a series of lockdown policies to restrict the social activities of people. Although scholars suggest that such policies may produce negative effects on public emotions, the existing research is limited because it only provides a cross-sectional snapshot of the effect of lockdown policies in small and local samples. Using large-scale longitudinal cross-country data, the current study aims to gain a better understanding of the dynamic effect of lockdown policies on public emotions and their underlying mechanisms. Methods: Drawing on a large-scale longitudinal data from multiple sources, the study employs fixed-effects models to analyze the association between lagged lockdown policy stringency and public negative emotions among 120 countries from February to July 2020 (N = 9,141 country-day observations). The bootstrapping mediation test is used to examine the mediation effects of increased population mobility in residential areas. Results: The results show a statistically significant and positive association between lagged lockdown policy stringency and general public negative emotion (standardized coefficient = 0.32, CI = 0.30–0.35, p < 0.001). This pattern remains similar to other specific negative emotions, such as depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and helplessness. Moreover, the negative health effects of lockdown policy stringency are significantly mediated by increased mobility in residential areas (51–74% points, p < 0.001). Conclusion: The findings confirm that stringent lockdown policies have a negative effect on public emotions via confining population mobility residential areas. To tackle the COVID-19, future public health policies should pay more attention to the unintended negative consequences of lockdown measures on public emotions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 03 May 2024 12:09
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2024 16:45
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/122897

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