Individual Differences, Economic Stability, and Fear of Contagion as Risk Factors for PTSD Symptoms in the COVID-19 Emergency.
ABSTRACT: On January 30th 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 pandemic a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Italy has been one of the most affected countries in the world. To contain further spread of the virus, the Italian government has imposed an unprecedented long-period lockdown for the entire country. This dramatic scenario may have caused a strong psychological distress, with potential negative long-term mental health consequences. The aim of the present study is to report the prevalence of high psychological distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the general population, especially considering that this aspect is consistently associated with PTSD symptoms. Furthermore, the present study aims to identify the risk factors for high PTSD symptoms, including individual differences and subjective perception of both economic and psychological aspects. We administered an online survey to 1253 participants during the peak period of the contagion in Italy. A logistic regression on the Impact of Event Scale - Revised (IES-R) scores was used to test the risk factors that predict the possibility to develop PTSD symptoms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gender (female), lower perceived economic stability, higher neuroticism, and fear and consequences of contagion were predictors of high PTSD symptomatology. The results, highlighted in the present study, extend our understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the population's mental health, by identifying individuals at high-risk of developing PTSD. This may help with the implementation of specific protocols to prevent the possibility of developing symptoms of PTSD in target populations.
Project description:Background:The 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has become a global health emergency. The extreme actions aimed to reduce virus diffusion have profoundly changed the lifestyles of the Italian population. Moreover, fear of contracting the infection has generated high levels of anxiety. This study aimed to understand the psychological impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on sleep quality, general anxiety symptomatology, and psychological distress. Methods:An online survey collected information on socio-demographic data and additional information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, sleep quality, sleep disorders, generalized anxiety symptoms, psychological distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology related to COVID-19 were assessed. Results:This study included 2291 respondents. The results revealed that 57.1% of participants reported poor sleep quality, 32.1% high anxiety, 41.8% high distress, and 7.6% reported PTSD symptomatology linked to COVID-19. Youth and women, those uncertain regarding possible COVID-19 infection, and greater fear of direct contact with those infected by COVID-19 had an increased risk of developing sleep disturbances, as well as higher levels of anxiety and distress. Finally, a significant relationship between sleep quality, generalized anxiety, and psychological distress with PTSD symptoms related to COVID-19 was evidenced. Conclusions:Our findings indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be a risk factor for sleep disorders and psychological diseases in the Italian population, as previously reported in China. These results should be used as a starting point for further studies aimed to develop psychological interventions to minimize the brief and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project description:Since December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has attracted worldwide attention for its rapid and exponential diffusion. The long-term psychological impact, of both the spread of the virus and the restrictive policies adopted to counteract it, remains uncertain. However, recent studies reported a high level of psychological distress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. The purpose of this study is to assess the psychometric properties of a new questionnaire, to evaluate PTSD risk related to the COVID-19 emergency. A total of Italian people completed a web-based cross-sectional survey broadcasted through different social-media. Demographic data and some psychological dimensions, such as general distress and sleep disturbance, were collected. A new self-report questionnaire (COVID-19-PTSD), consisting of 19 items, was developed starting from the PTSD Check List for DSM-5 (PCL-5) questionnaire, and it was administered in order to analyze its psychometric properties. The results highlighted the adequate psychometric properties of the COVID-19-PTSD questionnaire. The confirmatory factor analysis indicated that a seven-factor model (Intrusion, Avoidance, Negative Affect, Anhedonia, Dysphoric arousal, Anxious arousal and Externalizing behavior) best fits the data. Significant correlations were found among COVID-19-PTSD scores, general distress and sleep disturbance. A high percentage of PTSD symptomatology (29.5%) was found in the Italian population. COVID-19-PTSD appears to be effective in evaluating the specific stress symptoms related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Italian population. These results are relevant from a clinical point of view because they suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic could be considered as a traumatic event. Psychological interventions to counteract short- and long-term psychopathological effects, consequent to the COVID-19 pandemic, appear to be necessary.
Project description:BACKGROUND:As a major virus outbreak in the 21st century, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented hazards to mental health globally. While psychological support is being provided to patients and healthcare workers, the general public's mental health requires significant attention as well. This systematic review aims to synthesize extant literature that reports on the effects of COVID-19 on psychological outcomes of the general population and its associated risk factors. METHODS:A systematic search was conducted on PubMed, Embase, Medline, Web of Science, and Scopus from inception to 17 May 2020 following the PRISMA guidelines. A manual search on Google Scholar was performed to identify additional relevant studies. Articles were selected based on the predetermined eligibility criteria. RESULTS:Relatively high rates of symptoms of anxiety (6.33% to 50.9%), depression (14.6% to 48.3%), post-traumatic stress disorder (7% to 53.8%), psychological distress (34.43% to 38%), and stress (8.1% to 81.9%) are reported in the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic in China, Spain, Italy, Iran, the US, Turkey, Nepal, and Denmark. Risk factors associated with distress measures include female gender, younger age group (?40 years), presence of chronic/psychiatric illnesses, unemployment, student status, and frequent exposure to social media/news concerning COVID-19. LIMITATIONS:A significant degree of heterogeneity was noted across studies. CONCLUSIONS:The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with highly significant levels of psychological distress that, in many cases, would meet the threshold for clinical relevance. Mitigating the hazardous effects of COVID-19 on mental health is an international public health priority.
Project description:The Covid-19 pandemic is burning all over the world. National healthcare systems are facing the contagion with incredible strength, but concern regarding the psychosocial and economic effects is growing quickly. The PsyCovid Study assessed the influence of psychosocial variables on individual differences from the perceived impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the issues of health and economy in the Italian population. Italian volunteers from different regions completed an online anonymous survey. The main outcomes were the perceived impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on health and the economy. A two-way MANOVA evaluated differences in the main outcomes, with geographical area (northern, central, and southern regions) and professional status (healthcare workers or not) as factors. We then tested the relationship linking psychosocial variables (i.e. perceived distress and social isolation, empathy, and coping style) to the main outcomes through two different mediation models. 1163 responders completed the survey (835 females; mean age: 42 ± 13.5 y.o.; age range: 18-81 y.o.) between March 14 and 21, 2020. Healthcare workers and people living in northern Italy reported a significantly worse outbreak impact on health, but not on the economy. In the whole sample, distress and loneliness were key variables influencing the perceived impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on health, while empathy and coping style affected the perceived impact on the economy. The Covid-19 pandemic is a worldwide emergency in terms of psychological, social, and economic consequences. Our data suggests that in the Italian population, actual differences in individual perception of the Covid-19 outbreak severity for health are dramatically modulated by psychosocial frailty (i.e., distress and loneliness). At the same time, problem-oriented coping strategies and enhanced empathic abilities increase people's awareness of the severity of the impact of the Covid-19 emergency on economics. There is an immediate need for consensus guidelines and healthcare policies to support interventions aimed to manage psychosocial distress and increase population resilience towards the imminent crisis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The current COVID-19 pandemic comes with multiple psychological stressors due to health-related, social, economic, and individual consequences and may cause psychological distress. The aim of this study was to screen the population in Germany for negative impact on mental health in the current COVID-19 pandemic and to analyze possible risk and protective factors. METHODS:A total of 6,509 people took part in an online survey in Germany from 27 March to 6 April. The questionnaire included demographic information and ascertained psychological distress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and risk and protective factors. RESULTS:In our sample, over 50% expressed suffering from anxiety and psychological distress regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants spent several hours per day thinking about COVID-19 (M = 4.45). Psychological and social determinants showed stronger associations with anxiety regarding COVID-19 than experiences with the disease. CONCLUSIONS:The current COVID-19 pandemic does cause psychological distress, anxiety, and depression for large proportions of the general population. Strategies such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle and social contacts, acceptance of anxiety and negative emotions, fostering self-efficacy, and information on where to get medical treatment if needed, seem of help, while substance abuse and suppression of anxiety and negative emotions seem to be associated with more psychological burden.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has many consequences for people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Social distancing measures complicate regular care and result in lifestyle changes, which may indirectly cause psychological stress and worsening of PD symptoms. OBJECTIVE:To assess whether the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased psychological distress and decreased physical activity in PD, how these changes related to PD motor and non-motor symptom severity, and what frequency and burden of COVID-related stressors were. METHODS:We sent an online survey to the Personalized Parkinson Project (PPP) cohort (n?=?498 PD patients) in the Netherlands. In the survey, we distinguished between COVID-related stressor load, psychological distress, PD symptom severity, and physical activity. We related inter-individual differences to personality factors and clinical factors collected before the pandemic occurred. RESULTS:358 PD patients completed the survey between April 21 and May 25, 2020 (response rate 71.9%). Patients with higher COVID-related stressor load experienced more PD symptoms, and this effect was mediated by the degree of psychological distress. 46.6% of PD patients were less physically active since the COVID-19 pandemic, and reduced physical activity correlated with worse PD symptoms. Symptoms that worsened most were rigidity, fatigue, tremor, pain and concentration. Presence of neuropsychiatric symptoms (anxiety, depression) before the pandemic, as well as cognitive dysfunction and several personality traits predicted increased psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSION:Our findings show how an external stressor (the COVID-19 pandemic) leads to a worsening of PD symptoms by evoking psychological distress as well as lifestyle changes (reduced physical activity).
Project description:<b>Introduction:</b> Since February 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 spread to several countries worldwide, including Italy. In this study, we aimed to assess the psychopathological impact of the pandemic across the general population of Lombardy, the most affected Italian region, and to compare the prevalence of psychiatric symptoms between the general public and healthcare workers. <b>Methods:</b> Four hundred and thirty-two participants completed an online survey including: the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 items (DASS-21), the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PQSI). Healthcare workers were also asked to complete the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). <b>Results:</b> At the DASS-21, 33.3% of the responders presented pathological levels of stress, 25.5% of anxiety, and 35.9% of depression. At the IES-R, 13.9% appeared at risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At the PSQI, 57.6% presented sleep disturbances. Female gender and younger age predicted higher scores of distress. Healthcare workers presented higher levels of psychiatric symptoms than the general public. Moreover, working in contact with COVID-19 patients predicted higher scores at the IES-R subscale Intrusion. <b>Conclusion:</b> Our results showed that about a third of our sample presented symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression during the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Lombardy; more than half of the responders presented sleep disturbances, and 13% appeared at risk of PTSD. Italian authorities should develop specific strategies to guarantee psychological support to the population of Lombardy, with particular attention to women, young people, and healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 patients.
Project description:In the frontline of the pandemic stand healthcare workers and public service providers, occupations which have proven to be associated with increased mental health problems during pandemic crises. This cross-sectional, survey-based study collected data from 1773 healthcare workers and public service providers throughout Norway between March 31, 2020 and April 7, 2020, which encompasses a timeframe where all non-pharmacological interventions (NPIs) were held constant. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression were assessed by the Norwegian version of the PTSD checklist (PCL-5), General Anxiety Disorder -7, and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), respectively. Health anxiety and specific predictors were assessed with specific items. Multiple regression analysis was used for predictor analysis. A total of 28.9% of the sample had clinical or subclinical symptoms of PTSD, and 21.2% and 20.5% were above the established cut-offs for anxiety and depression. Those working directly in contrast to indirectly with COVID-19 patients had significantly higher PTSD symptoms. Worries about job and economy, negative metacognitions, burnout, health anxiety and emotional support were significantly associated with PTSD symptoms, after controlling for demographic variables and psychological symptoms. Health workers and public service providers are experiencing high levels of PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health workers working directly with COVID-19 patients have significantly higher levels of PTSD symptoms and depression compared to those working indirectly. Appropriate action to monitor and reduce PTSD, anxiety, and depression among these groups of individuals working in the frontline of pandemic with crucial societal roles should be taken immediately.
Project description:The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has become a global pandemic, causing substantial anxiety. One potential factor in the spread of anxiety in response to a pandemic threat is emotion contagion, the finding that emotional experiences can be socially spread through conscious and unconscious pathways. Some individuals are more susceptible to social contagion effects and may be more likely to experience anxiety and other mental health symptoms in response to a pandemic threat. Therefore, we studied the relationship between emotion contagion and mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. We administered the Emotion Contagion Scale (ESC) along with a measure of anxiety in response to COVID-19 (modified from a previous scale designed to quantify fear of the Swine Flu outbreak) and secondary outcome measures of depression, anxiety, stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms. These measures were completed by a large (<i>n</i> = 603) student sample in the United States. Data were collected in the months of April and May of 2020 when the fear of COVID-19 was widespread. Results revealed that greater susceptibility to emotion contagion was associated with greater concern about the spread of COVID-19, more depression, anxiety, stress, and OCD symptoms. Consumption of media about COVID-19 also predicted anxiety about COVID-19, though results were not moderated by emotion contagion. However, emotion contagion did moderate the relationship between COVID-19-related media consumption and elevated OCD symptoms. Although limited by a cross-sectional design that precludes causal inferences, the present results highlight the need for study of how illness fears may be transmitted socially during a pandemic.
Project description:Psychological distress among healthcare providers is concerning during COVID-19 pandemic due to extreme stress at healthcare facilities, including HIV clinics in China. The socioecological model suggests that psychological distress could be influenced by multi-level factors. However, limited COVID-19 research examined the mechanisms of psychological distress among HIV healthcare providers. This study examined organizational and intrapersonal factors contributing to psychological health during COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected via online anonymous surveys from 1029 HIV healthcare providers in Guangxi, China during April-May 2020. Path analysis was utilized to test a mediation model among COVID-19 stressors, institutional support, resilience, and psychological distress (PHQ-4). Thirty-eight percent of the providers experienced psychological distress (PHQ-4 score?>?3). Institutional support and resilience mediated the relationship between COVID-19 stressors and psychological distress. Psychological distress was common among Chinese HIV healthcare providers during COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological health intervention should attend to institutional support and resilience.