Effective recommendations towards healthy routines to preserve mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objective

    To assess the adherence to a set of evidence-based recommendations to support mental health during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and its association with depressive and anxiety symptoms.


    A team of health workers and researchers prepared the recommendations, formatted into three volumes (1: COVID-19 prevention; 2: Healthy habits; 3: Biological clock and sleep). Participants were randomized to receive only Volume 1 (control), Volumes 1 and 2, Volumes 1 and 3, or all volumes. We used a convenience sample of Portuguese-speaking participants over age 18 years. An online survey consisting of sociodemographic and behavioral questionnaires and mental health instruments (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 [PHQ-9] and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 [GAD-7]) was administered. At 14 and 28 days later, participants were invited to complete follow-up surveys, which also included questions regarding adherence to the recommendations. A total of 409 participants completed the study - mostly young adult women holding university degrees.


    The set of recommendations contained in Volumes 2 and 3 was effective in protecting mental health, as suggested by significant associations of adherence with PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores (reflecting anxiety and depression symptoms, respectively).


    The recommendations developed in this study could be useful to prevent negative mental health effects in the context of the pandemic and beyond.


  • Pilz, Luísa K
  • Couto Pereira, Natividade S
  • Francisco, Ana Paula
  • Carissimi, Alicia
  • Constantino, Débora B
  • Caus, Letícia B
  • Abreu, Ana Carolina O
  • Amando, Guilherme R
  • Bonatto, Fernanda S
  • Carvalho, Paula VV
  • Cipolla-Neto, José
  • Harb, Ana
  • Lazzarotto, Gabriela
  • Marafiga, Joseane Righes
  • Minuzzi, Luciano
  • Montagner, Francisco
  • Nishino, Fernanda A
  • Oliveira, Melissa AB
  • dos Santos, Bruno GT
  • Steibel, Eduardo G
  • Tavares, Patrice S
  • Tonon, André C
  • Xavier, Nicóli B
  • Zanona, Querusche Klippel
  • Amaral, Fernanda G
  • Calcagnotto, Maria Elisa
  • Frey, Benicio
  • Hidalgo, Maria Paz
  • Idiart, Marco
  • Russomano, Thais

publication date

  • March 2022