Emotional, Behavioral, and Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Front Psychol. 2020 Oct 2;11:566212. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.566212. eCollection 2020.


The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019 prompted consternation in many parts of the world. Due to its fast dissemination, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March 2020. Aiming to contain the spread of the virus, leaders of many countries restrained social movement, targeting to flatten the curve of contamination with social distancing. This review aimed to analyze how human behavior has changed throughout this period. We also approached the key components of the emotional reaction to the pandemic, how internal and external factors, such as personality traits, gender, the media, the economy and the governmental response, influence the social perception of the pandemic and the psychological outcomes of the current scenario. Moreover, we explored in depth the groups at increased risk of suffering mental health burden secondary to these circumstances. These include the healthcare professionals, elderly individuals, children, college students, black subjects, latin and LGBTQ+ communities, economically disadvantaged groups, the homeless, prisoners, the rural population and psychiatric patients. We also discussed several measures that might minimize the emotional impact derived from this scenario. It is crucial that the health authorities, the government and the population articulate to assist the vulnerable groups and promote emotional and psychological support strategies. Moreover, it is fundamental that the population is provided with accurate information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; behavior; mental health; psychological changes; restricting measures; social isolation.

Publication types

  • Review