Capturing the emotional and social experiences of COVID-19 through journal entries: A qualitative study of COVID-19 experiences over six weeks following infection.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title



oregon; core; covid-19


COVID-19's wide-ranging effects on patients' physical health are well-documented, but comparatively less research has explored the impact on patients' emotional and social experiences. We examined how patients across a multi-state health system experience the emotional and social aspects of COVID-19 during the first six weeks of recovery from infection. We leveraged the larger My COVID Diary project to capture open-ended journal data from an app-based platform available to patients who test positive for COVID-19 within the health system. Our sample was limited to participants with multiple journal entries during the first six weeks after infection, with one entry in the top 5% of all participants for word count to ensure sufficient journal content was available for analysis. We randomly selected 100 eligible participants and coded and analyzed all of their journal entries in weeks 1-6 after infection, utilizing a thematic analysis approach. Despite journal entry prompts' orientation towards physical symptoms, the majority of participants discussed emotional experiences (such as anxiety, depression, and gratitude) and social factors (such as work and family) when describing their COVID-19-related experiences. Physical, emotional, and social experiences related to COVID-19 infection and recovery were often interconnected and overlapping. These findings demonstrate that a holistic understanding of the patient experience that extends beyond physical symptoms is necessary to fully support patient care and recovery.


Behavioral Health


Infectious Diseases


Population Health