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Examining the Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown in Wuhan and Lombardy: A Psycholinguistic Analysis on Weibo and Twitter

Su, Yue and Xue, Jia and Liu, Xiaoqian and Wu, Peijing and Chen, Junxiang and Chen, Chen and Liu, Tianli and Gong, Weigang and Zhu, Tingshao (2020) Examining the Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown in Wuhan and Lombardy: A Psycholinguistic Analysis on Weibo and Twitter. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (12). p. 4552. ISSN 1660-4601

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Many countries are taking strict quarantine policies to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) around the world, such as city lockdown. Cities in China and Italy were locked down in the early stage of the pandemic. The present study aims to examine and compare the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on individuals’ psychological states in China and Italy. We achieved the aim by (1) sampling Weibo users (geo-location = Wuhan, China) and Twitter users (geo-location = Lombardy, Italy); (2) fetching all the users’ published posts two weeks before and after the lockdown in each region (e.g., the lockdown date of Wuhan was 23 January 2020); (3) extracting the psycholinguistic features of these posts using the Simplified Chinese and Italian version of Language Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) dictionary; and (4) conducting Wilcoxon tests to examine the changes in the psycholinguistic characteristics of the posts before and after the lockdown in Wuhan and Lombardy, respectively. Results showed that individuals focused more on “home”, and expressed a higher level of cognitive process after a lockdown in both Wuhan and Lombardy. Meanwhile, the level of stress decreased, and the attention to leisure increased in Lombardy after the lockdown. The attention to group, religion, and emotions became more prevalent in Wuhan after the lockdown. Findings provide decision-makers timely evidence on public reactions and the impacts on psychological states in the COVID-19 context, and have implications for evidence-based mental health interventions in two countries


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Su, Yue
Xue, Jia
Liu, Xiaoqian
Wu, Peijing
Chen, Junxiangjuc91@pitt.edujuc910000-0002-8897-754X
Chen, Chen
Liu, Tianli
Gong, Weigang
Zhu, Tingshao
Date: 24 June 2020
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume: 17
Number: 12
Publisher: MDPI AG
Page Range: p. 4552
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3390/ijerph17124552
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Biomedical Informatics
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: impact of COVID-19 lockdown, public health emergencies, psycholinguistic analysis, psychological states
ISSN: 1660-4601
Official URL:
Funders: China Social Science Fund
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2022 14:03
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2022 14:03


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