Relationships between Physical and Social Behavioural Changes and the Mental Status of Homebound Residents in Hong Kong during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 12;17(18):6653. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17186653.


In Hong Kong, social distancing has been adopted in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19. This study aims to examine the changes in physical health, mental health, and social well-being experienced by local residents who were homebound during the pandemic. An online questionnaire in both Chinese and English versions was completed by 590 eligible participants from 24 April to 13 May 2020. The questionnaire found that individuals aged 18 to 25 years spent more time resting and relaxing but experienced more physical strain. Working status was associated with social contact, with participants working full-time jobs scoring higher in "maintaining social communication via electronic means" and "avoiding social activities outside the home". Additionally, approximately one third of the participants (29.7%) had moderate to severe depression, and participants aged 18 to 25 were found to have higher scores in PHQ-9. Changes in physical health and social contact were significantly associated with developing depressive symptoms. From the results, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to exert a negative impact on the mental health status of individuals.

Keywords: COVID-19; Patient Health Questionnaire-9; physical health changes; social contact; social distancing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Employment
  • Health Status*
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2