Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Psychological Distress in China: Does Neighbourhood Matter?

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Using individual data (n=937) obtained from an online questionnaire between 20th January and 13th February, the early stage of the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in 2020, we explore the direct association between people’s perceptions of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and psychological distress. We further examine the moderating role of neighbourhood environment and this distress. We find that people living in infected communities tend to perceive higher level of psychological distress compared to people living in uninfected communities. People’s expected duration of COVID-19 is associated with higher psychological distress and this is partially moderated by the perception of neighbourhood noise level and overall environment quality. Additional results quantify the evidence that a quiet and well maintained neighbourhood environment could reduce the negative influences of expectation of a long duration of COVID-19 on people’s psychological distress.
Original languageEnglish
Article number144203
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date9 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2021


  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Kessler psychological distress scale
  • Neighbourhood environment
  • Psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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