The pre-designed pre-tested online questionnaire (Google form), used for data collection was comprised of questions on Socio-demographic and clinical information, awareness on COVID pandemic and cases in the surroundings, sources and levels of stress, levels of insomnia and anxiety. The questionnaire was provided in English language. The collected data using predesigned Google form (Google LLC, California, USA) was auto-entered into a linked generated Google sheet (Google LLC, California, USA). The questionnaire was designed through brain-storming sessions with subject experts from the disciplines of psychiatry, clinical psychology, and social sciences. The participants were enquired about their age, gender, residence, current living arrangement, employment status, whether going out to office/institution highest, educational level, and sources of information regarding COVID pandemic. Apart from those married, those who were not currently married, and not in any relationship were considered single, and those living-in with the partner or in a relationship were considered as ‘others’ in case of marital status. The respondents were also enquired whether there were any confirmed and/or suspect cases in their immediate social surrounding and/or relatives and close friends.

Loneliness was measured with the help of validated three-item UCLA Loneliness scale [16] and categorized into lonely and not lonely based on the total score obtained–total score of 6 and above indicating loneliness. Coping was measured by the brief resilience and coping scale (BRCS) [17], another validated tool which classified the participants into three categories based on the total scale score, viz. high resilient copers, medium resilient copers and low resilient copers. Psychological distress, considered the outcome variable was measured by Psychological distress scale (K6 scale) [18]. The item specific scores were added and based on the total scores, the participants were categorized into low risk and high risk for developing psychological distress. The Cronbach’s alpha values for UCLA Loneliness scale, BRCS and K6 scale were 0.81, 0.78 and 0.90 respectively in the current study sample. In consultation with mental health practitioners and clinical psychologists, three items on five-point Likert-type scale were included measuring the perception regarding effect of the pandemic, the effectiveness of lockdown and last but not the least the impact of imposed physical distancing measures separately.

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