Published: 2022-03-25

The acceptability of a self-guided psychological intervention for patients with COVID-19 in isolation and quarantine

Aarzoo Suman, Anish Shouan, Shubh Mohan Singh, Krishan Kumar


Background: A significant number of patients not requiring intensive care would experience psychological symptoms and distress. This may necessitate mental health care services which may be not be feasible given the number of patients involved and paucity of mental health care workers. An innovative solution for such a scenario may be in the form of a self-guided psychological intervention. The aim of the study was to test the acceptability of a brief self-guided psychological intervention for patients in quarantine and isolation with COVID-19.

Methods: The authors developed a brief, self-guided psychological intervention handout targeted towards reducing psychological distress and enhancing the coping of patients in quarantine and isolation due to COVID-19. This was developed concurrently in English, Hindi and Punjabi languages. This was administered to 60 patients. Assessments were done at baseline and at two weeks.

Results: Assessments were completed in 51 patients (21 isolated and 30 quarantined). A majority of the patients in both groups found the intervention to be appropriate in form and content, relevant to the situation, had a positive emotional impact on them, enhanced their understanding of the situation and was perceived as being useful overall. The intervention was found to be highly acceptable.

Conclusions: The study demonstrates the acceptability and feasibility of using this intervention in patients in isolation and quarantine due to COVID-19. The intervention lends itself to ease of use and can be scaled up at little cost.


COVID-19, Self-guided psychological intervention, Psychological distress, Coping, Isolation, Quarantine

Full Text:



CDC. Quarantine and Isolation, 2019. Available at: Accessed on 13 February 2022.

Dubey S, Biswas P, Ghosh R, Chatterjee S, Dubey MJ, Chatterjee S, et al. Psychosocial impact of COVID-19. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020;14(5):779-88.

Rogers JP, Chesney E, Oliver D, Pollak TA, McGuire P, Poli P, et al. Psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations associated with severe coronavirus infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis with comparison to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(7):611-27.

Troyer EA, Kohn JN, Hong S. Are we facing a crashing wave of neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID-19? Neuropsychiatric symptoms and potential immunologic mechanisms. Brain Behav Immun. 2020;87:34-9.

Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, Woodland L, Wessely S, Greenberg N, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. Lancet. 2020;395(10227):912-20.

Holmes EA, Connor RC, Perry VH, Tracey I, Wessely S, Arseneault Let al. Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: a call for action for mental health science. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(6):547-60.

Delgadillo J. Guided self-help in a brave new world. Br J Psychiatry. 2018;212(2):65-6.

Hansen L, Huray C, Phull B, Shakespeare C, Wheatley J. Using guided self-help to treat common mental health problems: The Westminster Primary Care Psychology Service. London J Prim Care. 2009;2(1):61-4.

WHO. Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak, 2020. Available at: item/WHO2019-nCoV-MentalHealth-2020. Accessed on 13 February 2022.

The Ottawa Hospital. Patient decision aids, 2021. Available at: Accessed on 13 February 2022.

Juan AS, Wakefield CE, Kasparian NA, Kirk J, Tyler J, Tucker K. Development and pilot testing of a decision aid for men considering genetic testing for breast and/or ovarian cancer-related mutations. Genet Test. 2008(4);12:523-32.

Torales J, Higgins M, Maia JM, Ventriglio A. The outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on global mental health. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2020;66(4):317-20.

Lee YH, Hong CM, Kim DH, Lee TH, Lee J. Clinical Course of Asymptomatic and Mildly Symptomatic Patients with Coronavirus Disease Admitted to Community Treatment Centers, South Korea. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(10):2346-52.

Yang L, Yin J, Wang D, Rahman A, Li X. Urgent need to develop evidence-based self-help interventions for mental health of healthcare workers in COVID-19 pandemic. Psychol Med. 2021;51(10):1775-6.

Matcham F, Rayner L, Hutton J, Monk A, Steel C, Hotopf M. Self-help interventions for symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychological distress in patients with physical illnesses: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev. 2014;34(2):141-57.

Blake H, Bermingham F, Johnson G, Tabner A. Mitigating the Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Workers: A Digital Learning Package. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(9):2997.

Cuijpers P, Donker T, Johansson R, Mohr DC, Straten A, Andersson G. Self-guided psychological treatment for depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2011;6(6):21274.

Mitchell J, Stanimirovic R, Klein B, Brodrick D. A randomised controlled trial of a self-guided internet intervention promoting well-being. Comput Hum Behav. 2009;25(3):749-60.

Pennycook G, McPhetres J, Zhang Y, Lu JG, Rand DG. Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media: Experimental Evidence for a Scalable Accuracy-Nudge Intervention. Psychol Sci. 2020;31(7):770-80.

Depoux A, Martin S, Karafillakis E, Preet R, Smith A, Larson H. The pandemic of social media panic travels faster than the COVID-19 outbreak. J Travel Med. 2020;27(3):31.

Hoffmann T, Worrall L. Designing effective written health education materials: considerations for health professionals. Disabil Rehabil. 2004;26(19):1166-73.

Hoffmann T, Worrall L. Designing effective written health education materials: considerations for health professionals. Disabil Rehabil. 2004;26(19):1166-73.