Psychosocial and health behavioural impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on adults in the USA: protocol for a longitudinal cohort study

BMJ Open. 2020 Dec 22;10(12):e044642. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-044642.


Introduction: Although social distancing may help contain the spread of COVID-19, the social isolation and loneliness it causes can heighten stress, contribute to unhealthy lifestyle behaviours and have deleterious effects on social relationships. This ongoing longitudinal cohort study aims to (1) characterise the psychological, social and health behavioural impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic over a 12-month period in the USA; (2) determine whether these impacts differ for certain subgroups based on sociodemographics and other individual-level factors; and (3) explore whether there are modifiable factors (eg, coping, social support) that moderate the effects of the pandemic over time.

Methods and analysis: Adults (aged ≥18 years) who were fluent in either English or Spanish were recruited via social media and invited to complete an online survey during the 8-week period from 13 April to 8 June 2020 (baseline). Follow-up surveys will be conducted 6 and 12 months after baseline. Data transformations, non-parametric tests or other alternative methods will be used when appropriate. Descriptive statistics and cross-sectional analyses will be performed. Longitudinal associations will be analysed using multilevel modelling with time-variant and time-invariant predictors of change in trajectory over the study period.

Ethics and dissemination: Research ethics approval was received from the Baylor College of Medicine Institutional Review Board (H-47505). Overall, this study will provide timely information that can be used to inform public health messaging strategies and guide development of assessment tools and interventions to support vulnerable individuals dealing with the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; mental health; public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • COVID-19* / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health / trends*
  • Psychosocial Functioning*
  • Research Design
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Isolation / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology