Zeitschrift Fur Gesundheitswissenschaften; - :
Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the impact of social distancing, self-isolation and limited access to public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic on the quality of life and psychological well-being of young people. Subject and methods: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus posed a new global challenge in 2020. The new coronavirus emerged locally, but it rapidly spread to all continents and also reached Poland. On 24 March, the Polish Ministry of Health enforced self-isolation measures to contain the transmission of the disease. The new regulations imposed restrictions on civic freedoms, including access to public spaces. These measures significantly affected the daily lives of Polish citizens. Public spaces play a fundamental role in catering to the citizens’ basic needs. Access to public spaces is directly correlated with the quality of life, human relations and spontaneous interactions. Young people are highly socially active, and they are frequent users of public spaces. University students (young adults) who transitioned to online learning on 12 March were surveyed remotely with the Microsoft Forms online tool. The questionnaire contained several questions to elicit demographic information about the respondents, as well as 25 closed-ended questions relating to university students’ quality of life and access to public spaces during the epidemic. The survey was carried out during the first Polish lockdown in April 2020. The study group was composed of 132 respondents who were university students aged 19–26. Results: The results revealed a strong correlation between the severity of lockdown measures during the epidemic and the students’ activity levels in public spaces, a considerable deterioration in their physical and psychological well-being, and the overall quality of life. Conclusion: The respondents were significantly affected by the absence of direct social interactions which, in their opinion, can be only partially compensated for by remote contact.