Loneliness during the first half-year of COVID-19 Lockdowns

Psychiatry Res. 2020 Dec;294:113551. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113551. Epub 2020 Nov 4.


During the first 6-months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary weapons against the spread of the virus have included local government orders for restriction of movement and broad implementation of face masks and social distancing policies. While some early reports suggested increases in loneliness during the pandemic restrictions, others reported no changes. Here, we provide an update on self-reported loneliness over the first 6-months of community lockdown restrictions from a nationwide sample of 6,186 U.S. adults who completed the UCLA Loneliness Scale-3 and Public Health Questionnaire-9 during the pandemic. Loneliness scores increased significantly from April through September 2020 and were significantly higher for those reporting they were under stay-at-home, shelter-in-place, or lockdown orders compared to those reporting no restrictions. Greater loneliness was positively correlated with depression and suicidal ideation. Loneliness has increased over the first half-year of the pandemic, particularly for those under lockdown restrictions, and remains a significant mental health concern.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loneliness / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Quarantine / psychology*
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult