Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The COVID-19 pandemic and living under social distancing restrictions have been hypothesized to impact well-being and mental health in the general population. This study investigated the general Norwegian adult population's well-being after implementing and lifting strict social distancing restrictions. The study was conducted through digital surveys; during the implementation of strict social distancing restrictions in March 2020 (T1) and 3 months later, when the preponderance of strict distancing restrictions was discontinued (T2). Well-being was measured at T2. Four thousand nine hundred twenty-one individuals participated, and a sensitivity analysis was conducted to ensure that the sample reflects the true Norwegian adult population. Hierarchical regression analyses show that contemporaneous employment status and positive metacognitions at T2 were associated with higher well-being. Negative metacognitions and the use of unhelpful coping strategies at T2 had a contemporaneous association with lower mental well-being. Negative metacognitions at T1 were associated with lower well-being scores, while positive metacognitions at T1 were positively associated with higher well-being. An indirect association between social distancing and lower well-being was found through heightened depressive symptoms. These results contribute to understanding how social distancing restrictions relate to general well-being, which may further contribute to designing proper strategies to strengthen mental health and well-being during challenging and unavoidable societal conditions.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Public Health

Publication Date





COVID-19, mental health, metacognitions, social distancing, well-being, Adult, Humans, COVID-19, Pandemics, Physical Distancing, Mental Health, Surveys and Questionnaires