Understanding the Psychological Well-Being of International Arrivals in a Purpose-Designed Australian COVID-19 Quarantine Facility

David Mitchell, Danielle Esler, Kylie Ann Straube, David P. Thomas, Dianne Stephens, Daniel Bressington

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Equivocal evidence suggests that mandatory supervised quarantine can negatively affect psychological well-being in some settings. It was unclear if COVID-19 supervised quarantine was associated with psychological distress in Australia. The sociodemographic characteristics associated with distress and the lived experiences of quarantine are also poorly understood. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the mental well-being of international arrivals undergoing supervised COVID quarantine in a purpose designed facility in the Northern Territory, Australia. We conducted a concurrent triangulation mixed-methods study comprising of an observational cross-sectional survey (n = 117) and individual qualitative interviews (n = 26). The results revealed that several factors were associated with distress, including significantly higher levels of depression for those who smoked, drank alcohol, had pre-existing mental health conditions and had no social networks in quarantine. Levels of psychological distress were also related to waiting time for re-entry (the time between applying to repatriate and returning to Australia) and flight origin. Qualitative data showed that despite quarantine being viewed as necessary, unclear communication and a perception of lack of control were affecting emotional well-being. This information is useful to inform the further development of models to identify those at most risk and support psychological well-being in quarantine settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16553
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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