Australians in Isolation

Currently recruiting: 
Yes
The challenge: 

The COVID-19 outbreak is significantly different to other viral outbreaks both in its scale and in the scale of community action required. People who have either arrived in Australia from a high-risk setting, or are a close contact of a known case, are required to quarantine for two weeks, and those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have had a test and are awaiting results, are required to self-isolate. Both mandates require individuals to isolate from other people. To support people in isolation and optimise their compliance with protocols, it is important to understand how people are facing these challenges and to understand the factors that increase the risk of breaking quarantine or self-isolation.

The project: 

This study will explore the experiences of people in Australia who have been or are currently in isolation to identify factors that can provide support to these individuals. Well-targeted supports, both in terms of information provision and material assistance to ensure that individuals’ basic needs are met, will support individuals during isolation as well as providing community confidence that people who are required to sacrifice liberty have their needs met during this process.

The method: 

This project uses a qualitative research methodology that will involve semi-structured in-depth interviews, conducted by video conferencing or telephone. Data will be collected from two distinct groups of people who have undergone or are currently undertaking mandated isolation in Australia: Group 1 who are self-isolated in their home or place of residence (n=12), and Group 2 who are quarantined in hotels (n=12). Data will be thematically analysed drawing on the process of iterative categorisation.

The results: 

The research questions that this study seeks to address are: 

  1. How well do people comply with self-isolation and quarantine directives? 
  2. What factors facilitate compliance or non-compliance with self-isolation and quarantine directives?
  3. How do people in self-isolation and quarantine navigate emerging and pre-existing health issues?
  4. How do people in self-isolation and quarantine manage psychosocial and emotional challenges? 
  5. How do caring responsibilities impact on self-isolation?
The impact: 

This study will provide key data on the challenges of self-isolation and quarantine which can be used to inform the development of structures and strategies to support people during this process.

Project contact: 
Post-doctoral research fellow
Program Manager
Project supporters: 
  • NHMRC via APPRISE
  • Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney.
Header image credit: 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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