U of I research study looks at the psychology of quarantining


Clarissa Richardson

It could be the most 2020 research study of 2020: A University of Idaho professor and a student teamed up to look at the psychological effects of quarantining.

Clarissa Richardson, a U of I assistant professor of psychology, and Dawn Amos, a U of I student from Coeur d’Alene, received an undergraduate student fellowship to examine coronavirus-related behaviors.

“Fear surrounding COVID-19 largely predicted negative psychological health and was significantly correlated with PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety and stress,” Richardson said Tuesday. “Yet, those with higher fear also were more likely to engage in precautionary behaviors than those with lower fear.”

The surveys, sent to a pool of 300 participants nationwide, also examined pandemic politics — and respondents’ preferred news sources.

Dawn Amos

“Political affiliation predicted engagement in precautionary behaviors, with Democrats significantly more likely to quarantine, physically distance, wear a mask and believe in the effectiveness of masks than other party affiliates,” Richardson said.

In a news release, Richardson said the research could have two long-term applications: It could help secure mental health services for people facing quarantines, and it could refine the way data on the efficacy of masks is delivered to the public.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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