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Rebecca K. Webster

Bio: Rebecca K. Webster is a academic researcher at University of Sheffield who has co-authored 32 publication(s) receiving 7055 citation(s). The author has an hindex of 14. Previous affiliations of Rebecca K. Webster include University of Oxford & King's College London. The author has done significant research in the topic(s): Nocebo & Quarantine.

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Papers
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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30460-8
14 Mar 2020-The Lancet
Abstract: The December, 2019 coronavirus disease outbreak has seen many countries ask people who have potentially come into contact with the infection to isolate themselves at home or in a dedicated quarantine facility. Decisions on how to apply quarantine should be based on the best available evidence. We did a Review of the psychological impact of quarantine using three electronic databases. Of 3166 papers found, 24 are included in this Review. Most reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger. Stressors included longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. Some researchers have suggested long-lasting effects. In situations where quarantine is deemed necessary, officials should quarantine individuals for no longer than required, provide clear rationale for quarantine and information about protocols, and ensure sufficient supplies are provided. Appeals to altruism by reminding the public about the benefits of quarantine to wider society can be favourable.

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Topics: Quarantine (52%)

6,092 Citations


Open access
05 Aug 2020-
Abstract: The December, 2019 coronavirus disease outbreak has seen many countries ask people who have potentially come into contact with the infection to isolate themselves at home or in a dedicated quarantine facility. Decisions on how to apply quarantine should be based on the best available evidence. We did a Review of the psychological impact of quarantine using three electronic databases. Of 3166 papers found, 24 are included in this Review. Most reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger. Stressors included longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. Some researchers have suggested long-lasting effects. In situations where quarantine is deemed necessary, officials should quarantine individuals for no longer than required, provide clear rationale for quarantine and information about protocols, and ensure sufficient supplies are provided. Appeals to altruism by reminding the public about the benefits of quarantine to wider society can be favourable.

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Topics: Quarantine (52%)

350 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.PUHE.2020.03.007
30 Mar 2020-Public Health
Abstract: Objectives The December 2019 outbreak of coronavirus has once again thrown the vexed issue of quarantine into the spotlight, with many countries asking their citizens to ‘self-isolate’ if they have potentially come into contact with the infection. However, adhering to quarantine is difficult. Decisions on how to apply quarantine should be based on the best available evidence to increase the likelihood of people adhering to protocols. We conducted a rapid review to identify factors associated with adherence to quarantine during infectious disease outbreaks. Study design The study design is a rapid evidence review. Methods We searched Medline, PsycINFO and Web of Science for published literature on the reasons for and factors associated with adherence to quarantine during an infectious disease outbreak. Results We found 3163 articles and included 14 in the review. Adherence to quarantine ranged from as little as 0 up to 92.8%. The main factors which influenced or were associated with adherence decisions were the knowledge people had about the disease and quarantine procedure, social norms, perceived benefits of quarantine and perceived risk of the disease, as well as practical issues such as running out of supplies or the financial consequences of being out of work. Conclusions People vary in their adherence to quarantine during infectious disease outbreaks. To improve this, public health officials should provide a timely, clear rationale for quarantine and information about protocols; emphasise social norms to encourage this altruistic behaviour; increase the perceived benefit that engaging in quarantine will have on public health; and ensure that sufficient supplies of food, medication and other essentials are provided.

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Topics: Quarantine (54%)

192 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1037/HEA0000416
01 Dec 2016-Health Psychology
Abstract: Objectives: Medication side effects are common, often leading to reduced quality of life, nonadherence, and financial costs for health services. Many side effects are the result of a psychologically mediated “nocebo effect.” This review identifies the risk factors involved in the development of nocebo effects. Method: Web of Science, Scopus, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Journals@Ovid full text, and Global Health were searched using the terms “nocebo” and “placebo effect.” To be included, studies must have exposed people to an inert substance and have assessed 1 or more baseline or experimental factor(s) on its ability to predict symptom development in response to the inert exposure. Results: Eighty-nine studies were included; 70 used an experimental design and 19 used a prospective design, identifying 14 different categories of risk factor. The strongest predictors of nocebo effects were a higher perceived dose of exposure, explicit suggestions that the exposure triggers arousal or symptoms, observing people experiencing symptoms from the exposure, and higher expectations of symptoms. Conclusions: To reduce nocebo induced symptoms associated with medication or other interventions clinicians could reduce expectations of symptoms, limit suggestions of symptoms, correct unrealistic dose perceptions, and reduce exposure to people experiencing side effects. There is some evidence that we should do this especially for persons with at-risk personality types, though exactly which personality types these are requires further research. These suggestions have a downside in terms of consent and paternalism, but there is scope to develop innovative ways to reduce nocebo effects without withholding information.

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Topics: Nocebo Effect (73%), Nocebo (71%), Placebo (51%)

89 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.13.2000188
02 Apr 2020-Eurosurveillance
Abstract: BackgroundEmergency school closures are often used as public health interventions during infectious disease outbreaks to minimise the spread of infection. However, if children continue mixing with others outside the home during closures, the effect of these measures may be limited.AimThis review aimed to summarise existing literature on children's activities and contacts made outside the home during unplanned school closures.MethodsIn February 2020, we searched four databases, MEDLINE, PsycInfo, Embase and Web of Science, from inception to 5 February 2020 for papers published in English or Italian in peer-reviewed journals reporting on primary research exploring children's social activities during unplanned school closures. Main findings were extracted.ResultsA total of 3,343 citations were screened and 19 included in the review. Activities and social contacts appeared to decrease during closures, but contact remained common. All studies reported children leaving the home or being cared for by non-household members. There was some evidence that older child age (two studies) and parental disagreement (two studies) with closure were predictive of children leaving the home, and mixed evidence regarding the relationship between infection status and such. Parental agreement with closure was generally high, but some disagreed because of perceived low risk of infection and issues regarding childcare and financial impact.ConclusionEvidence suggests that many children continue to leave home and mix with others during school closures despite public health recommendations to avoid social contact. This review of behaviour during unplanned school closures could be used to improve infectious disease modelling.

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Topics: Public health (50%)

67 Citations


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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30168-1
Emily A. Holmes1, Emily A. Holmes2, Rory C. O'Connor3, V. Hugh Perry4  +22 moreInstitutions (17)
Abstract: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is having a profound effect on all aspects of society, including mental health and physical health. We explore the psychological, social, and neuroscientific effects of COVID-19 and set out the immediate priorities and longer-term strategies for mental health science research. These priorities were informed by surveys of the public and an expert panel convened by the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the mental health research charity, MQ: Transforming Mental Health, in the first weeks of the pandemic in the UK in March, 2020. We urge UK research funding agencies to work with researchers, people with lived experience, and others to establish a high level coordination group to ensure that these research priorities are addressed, and to allow new ones to be identified over time. The need to maintain high-quality research standards is imperative. International collaboration and a global perspective will be beneficial. An immediate priority is collecting high-quality data on the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across the whole population and vulnerable groups, and on brain function, cognition, and mental health of patients with COVID-19. There is an urgent need for research to address how mental health consequences for vulnerable groups can be mitigated under pandemic conditions, and on the impact of repeated media consumption and health messaging around COVID-19. Discovery, evaluation, and refinement of mechanistically driven interventions to address the psychological, social, and neuroscientific aspects of the pandemic are required. Rising to this challenge will require integration across disciplines and sectors, and should be done together with people with lived experience. New funding will be required to meet these priorities, and it can be efficiently leveraged by the UK's world-leading infrastructure. This Position Paper provides a strategy that may be both adapted for, and integrated with, research efforts in other countries.

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Topics: Mental health (60%), Psychological intervention (59%), Global health (55%) ...read more

2,378 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/S41562-020-0884-Z
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. Here we discuss evidence from a selection of research topics relevant to pandemics, including work on navigating threats, social and cultural influences on behaviour, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping. In each section, we note the nature and quality of prior research, including uncertainty and unsettled issues. We identify several insights for effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight important gaps researchers should move quickly to fill in the coming weeks and months.

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Topics: Behavioural sciences (56%)

1,845 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1056/NEJMP2008017
Betty Pfefferbaum1, Carol S. NorthInstitutions (1)
Abstract: Mental Health and the Covid-19 Pandemic Many aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the public health response to it will undoubtedly contribute to widespread emotional distress and increased risk fo...

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Topics: Public health (58%), Mental health (56%), Pandemic (54%)

1,604 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30073-6
Kiesha Prem1, Yang Liu1, Timothy W Russell1, Adam J. Kucharski1  +22 moreInstitutions (1)
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In December, 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a novel coronavirus, emerged in Wuhan, China. Since then, the city of Wuhan has taken unprecedented measures in response to the outbreak, including extended school and workplace closures. We aimed to estimate the effects of physical distancing measures on the progression of the COVID-19 epidemic, hoping to provide some insights for the rest of the world. METHODS: To examine how changes in population mixing have affected outbreak progression in Wuhan, we used synthetic location-specific contact patterns in Wuhan and adapted these in the presence of school closures, extended workplace closures, and a reduction in mixing in the general community. Using these matrices and the latest estimates of the epidemiological parameters of the Wuhan outbreak, we simulated the ongoing trajectory of an outbreak in Wuhan using an age-structured susceptible-exposed-infected-removed (SEIR) model for several physical distancing measures. We fitted the latest estimates of epidemic parameters from a transmission model to data on local and internationally exported cases from Wuhan in an age-structured epidemic framework and investigated the age distribution of cases. We also simulated lifting of the control measures by allowing people to return to work in a phased-in way and looked at the effects of returning to work at different stages of the underlying outbreak (at the beginning of March or April). FINDINGS: Our projections show that physical distancing measures were most effective if the staggered return to work was at the beginning of April; this reduced the median number of infections by more than 92% (IQR 66-97) and 24% (13-90) in mid-2020 and end-2020, respectively. There are benefits to sustaining these measures until April in terms of delaying and reducing the height of the peak, median epidemic size at end-2020, and affording health-care systems more time to expand and respond. However, the modelled effects of physical distancing measures vary by the duration of infectiousness and the role school children have in the epidemic. INTERPRETATION: Restrictions on activities in Wuhan, if maintained until April, would probably help to delay the epidemic peak. Our projections suggest that premature and sudden lifting of interventions could lead to an earlier secondary peak, which could be flattened by relaxing the interventions gradually. However, there are limitations to our analysis, including large uncertainties around estimates of R0 and the duration of infectiousness. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Institute for Health Research, Wellcome Trust, and Health Data Research UK.

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1,464 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30095-X
Russell M Viner1, Simon Russell1, Helen Croker1, Jessica Packer1  +5 moreInstitutions (5)
Abstract: In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, 107 countries had implemented national school closures by March 18, 2020. It is unknown whether school measures are effective in coronavirus outbreaks (eg, due to severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS], Middle East respiratory syndrome, or COVID-19). We undertook a systematic review by searching three electronic databases to identify what is known about the effectiveness of school closures and other school social distancing practices during coronavirus outbreaks. We included 16 of 616 identified articles. School closures were deployed rapidly across mainland China and Hong Kong for COVID-19. However, there are no data on the relative contribution of school closures to transmission control. Data from the SARS outbreak in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore suggest that school closures did not contribute to the control of the epidemic. Modelling studies of SARS produced conflicting results. Recent modelling studies of COVID-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2-4% of deaths, much less than other social distancing interventions. Policy makers need to be aware of the equivocal evidence when considering school closures for COVID-19, and that combinations of social distancing measures should be considered. Other less disruptive social distancing interventions in schools require further consideration if restrictive social distancing policies are implemented for long periods.

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1,011 Citations


Performance
Metrics

Author's H-index: 14

No. of papers from the Author in previous years
YearPapers
20216
202013
20194
20185
20173
20161

Top Attributes

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Author's top 5 most impactful journals

Health Expectations

2 papers, 28 citations

Social Science Research Network

2 papers, 30 citations

medRxiv

2 papers, 11 citations

Drug Safety

2 papers, 18 citations

British Journal of Health Psychology

2 papers, 21 citations

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