Previous trauma exposure and self-mastery as moderators of psychiatric effects of home isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic: a field study

Michelle Slone*, Ayelet Pe’er, Flora Mor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Limiting contagion during the Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated employment of drastic measures ranging from complete lockdown to home isolation and quarantines. This study examined the psychiatric effects of home isolation, the effects of interacting previous traumatic events and the moderating effect of self-mastery as a resilience factor that could mitigate negative effects. Methods: Six hundred forty-five adults aged 18–67 completed an online survey during the first wave lockdown during the Covid-19 outbreak in Israel. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire including measures of strictness of adherence to home isolation, a traumatic life events measure, the Mastery Scale, and the Brief Symptom Inventory. Data was analyzed using Structural Equation Model. Results: Findings showed positive relations between strictness of home isolation adherence and psychiatric symptoms, and between previous trauma exposure and psychiatric symptoms. A negative relation between self-mastery and psychiatric symptoms emerged. During home isolation, effects of previous trauma exposure on psychiatric symptoms was moderated by self-mastery. Individuals with high self-mastery showed less psychiatric symptoms than those with low self-mastery, at both high and low levels of previous trauma exposure. Conclusions: Home isolation adherence is associated with significant psychological distress and symptomatology and, thus, should be of great concern for public mental health service providers. The present study offers a new slant on appropriate clinical interventions during this period with a focus on strengthening resilience factors that can moderate mental health decline. Therapy and interventions based on promoting self-mastery could exert a significant effect on lowering psychiatric symptoms during stressful periods of home isolation. Trial registration: Not relevant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number450
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Covid-19
  • Home isolation
  • Mastery
  • Psychiatric symptoms
  • Resilience
  • Trauma


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