Beginning of the Pandemic: COVID-19-Elicited Anxiety as a Predictor of Working Memory Performance.
ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence indicates that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is associated with adverse psychological effects, including heightened levels of anxiety. This study examined whether COVID-19-related anxiety levels during the early stage of the pandemic predicted demanding working memory (WM) updating performance. Altogether, 201 healthy adults (age range, 18-50) mostly from North America and the British Isles were recruited to this study via the crowdsourcing site www.prolific.co. The results showed that higher levels of COVID-19-related anxiety during the first weeks of the pandemic outbreak were associated with poorer WM performance as measured by the n-back paradigm. Critically, the unique role of COVID-19-related anxiety on WM could not be explained by demographic factors, or other psychological factors such as state and trait anxiety or fluid intelligence. Moreover, across three assessment points spanning 5-6 weeks, COVID-19-related anxiety levels tended to decrease over time. This pattern of results may reflect an initial psychological "shock wave" of the pandemic, the cognitive effects of which may linger for some time, albeit the initial anxiety associated with the pandemic would change with habituation and increasing information. Our results contribute to the understanding of cognitive-affective reactions to a major disaster.
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 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:(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed people's health behavior, but also induced a psychological reaction among the public. Research data is needed to develop scientific evidence-driven strategies to reduce adverse mental health effects. The aims of this study are to evaluate the anxiety reaction of Chinese people and the related determinants during the earliest phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. Evidence from this survey will contribute to a targeted reference on how to deliver psychological counseling service in the face of outbreaks. (2) Methods: A cross-sectional, population-based online survey was conducted from 28 January to 5 February 2020 using an open online questionnaire for people aged 18 years or above, residing in China and abroad. The socio-demographic information of the respondents was collected, and anxiety scores were calculated. A direct standardization method was used to standardize anxiety scores and a general linear model was used to identify associations between some factors (e.g., sex, age, education, etc.) and anxiety scores. (3) Results: A total of 10,946 eligible participants were recruited in this study, with a completion rate of 98.16% (10,946/11,151). The average anxiety score was 6.46 ± 4.12 (total score = 15); women (6.86 ± 4.11) scored higher than men (5.67 ± 4.04). The age variable was inversely and significantly associated with the anxiety score (β = -2.12, 95% CI: -2.47--1.78). People possessing higher education (β = 1.15, 95% CI: 0.88-1.41) or a higher awareness of cognitive risk (β = 4.89, 95% CI: 4.33-5.46) reported higher levels of anxiety. There was a close association between poor subjective health and anxiety status (β = 2.83, 95% CI: 2.58-3.09). With the increase of confidence, the anxiety of the population exhibited a gradual decline (β = -2.45, 95% CI: -2.77--2.13). (4) Conclusion: Most people were vulnerable to anxiety during the earliest phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. Younger women, individuals with high education, people with high cognitive risk and subjective poor health were vulnerable to anxiety during the epidemic. In addition, increasing confidence in resisting this pandemic is a protective determinant for individuals to develop anxiety. The findings suggest that policymakers adopt psychosocial interventions to reduce anxiety during the pandemic.
Project description:The outbreak of COVID-19 has been affecting the daily lives of almost everyone and puts huge psychological pressure on people worldwide, including Turkey. Anxiety and stress levels among university students were already a public health concern. Our study aims to demonstrate the anxiety and stress levels of university students in Turkey after the outbreak of COVID-19 according to the Coronavirus Anxiety Scale (CAS) and COVID Stress Scale (CSS). CAS is a brief mental health screener to identify probable cases of dysfunctional anxiety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and CSS was developed to understand and assess COVID-19-related distress. An online questionnaire was administered to active 1,265 university students in Turkey between February 27 and March 8, 2021, via Google forms. The questionnaire consists of three parts that assess participants' demographic information, anxiety, and stress levels related to the pandemic. According to CAS and CSS analysis, anxiety and stress levels were associated with each other and influenced university students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both were associated with gender and family member loss. The academic year of students had a relationship with anxiety. It was observed that the danger factor was the highest stressor in university students in Turkey related to the novel coronavirus, followed by contamination fears. Both factors were shown as moderate stressors. As a result of the study, it was revealed that anxiety and stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are now included in the social, academic, and physical burdens of the university years, which are decisive and important in terms of mental development and psychological health of the person. It is essential to ascertain the long-term effects of COVID-19 and take effective precautions to support the physical and mental health of today's university students accordingly.
Project description:Despite the severe psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some individuals do not develop high levels of psychological distress and can be termed resilient. Using the ecological resilience model, we examined factors promoting or hindering resilience in the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 1034 participants (49.9±16.2 years; females 51.2%) from Italian general population, 70% displayed resilient outcomes and 30% reported moderate-severe anxiety and/or depression. A binary regression model revealed that factors promoting resilience were mostly psychological (e.g., trait resilience, conscientiousness) together with social distancing. Conversely, factors hindering resilience included COVID-19-anxiety, COVID-19-related PTSD symptoms, intolerance of uncertainty, loneliness, living with children, higher education, and living in regions where the virus was starting to spread. In conclusion, the ecological resilience model in the COVID-19 pandemic explained 64% of the variance and identified factors promoting or hindering resilient outcomes. Critically, these findings can inform psychological interventions supporting individuals by strengthening factors associated with resilience.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:As a result of the pandemic of COVID-19, the public have been experiencing psychological distress. However, the prevalence of psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic remains unknown. Our objective was to evaluate the prevalence of psychological distress during COVID-19 outbreak and their risk factors, especially their internal paths and causality. METHODS:A nationwide cross-sectional survey of the prevalence of mental disorders was conducted. We used Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to estimate the prevalence of anxiety and depression. The internal paths and the causality of the psychological health were analyzed using a structural equation modeling (SEM) approach. RESULTS:A total of 24,789 respondents completed the survey. We found that the overall prevalence of anxiety, depression, combination of anxiety, and depression were 51.6% (95% CI: 51.0-52.2), 47.5% (95% CI: 46.9-48.1), and 24.5% (95% CI: 24.0-25.0), respectively. The risk of psychological disorders in men was higher than that in women. The status of psychological health was different across different age groups, education levels, occupations, and income levels. The SEM analysis revealed that inadequate material supplies, low income, low education, lack of knowledge or confidence of the epidemic, and lack of exercise are major risk factors for psychological distress. CONCLUSIONS:The evidence from this survey poses serious challenges related to the high prevalence of psychological distress, but also offers strategies to deal with the mental health problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project description:While pregnant women are already at-risk for developing symptoms of anxiety and depression, this is heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic. We compared anxiety and depression symptoms, as indicators of psychological distress, before and during COVID-19, and investigated the role of partner, social network and healthcare support on COVID-19-related worries and consequently on psychological distress. A national survey, conducted during the first lockdown in The Netherlands, assessed COVID-19 experiences and psychological distress (N = 1421), whereas a comparison sample (N = 1439) was screened for psychological distress in 2017-2018. During COVID-19, the percentage of mothers scoring above the questionnaires' clinical cut-offs doubled for depression (6% and 12%) and anxiety (24% and 52%). Women reported increased partner support during COVID-19, compared to pre-pandemic, but decreased social and healthcare support. Higher support resulted in lower COVID-19-related worries, which in turn contributed to less psychological distress. Results suggest that a global pandemic exerts a heavy toll on pregnant women's mental health. Psychological distress was substantially higher during the pandemic than the pre-pandemic years. We identified a protective role of partner, social, and healthcare support, with important implications for the current and future crisis management. Whether increased psychological distress is transient or persistent, and whether and how it affects the future generation remains to be determined.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Pregnancy has been shown to be times in a woman's life particularly prone to mental health issues, however a substantial percentage of mothers report subclinical perinatal mental health symptoms that go undetected. Experiences of prenatal trauma, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, may exacerbate vulnerability to negative health outcomes for pregnant women and their infants. We aimed to examine the role of: 1) anxiety, depression, and stress related to COVID-19 in predicting the quality of antenatal attachment; 2) perceived social support and COVID-19 appraisal in predicting maternal anxiety and depression.<h4>Methods</h4>A sample of 150 UK expectant women were surveyed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Questions included demographics, pregnancy details, and COVID-19 appraisal. Validated measures were used to collect self-reported maternal antenatal attachment (MAAS), symptoms of anxiety (STAI), depression (BDI-II), and stress related to the psychological impact of COVID-19 (IES-r).<h4>Results</h4>We found that the pandemic has affected UK expectant mothers' mental health by increasing prevalence of depression (47%), anxiety (60%) and stress related to the psychological impact of COVID-19 (40%). Women for whom COVID-19 had a higher psychological impact were more likely to suffer from depressive (95% HDPI = [0.04, 0.39]) and anxiety symptoms (95% HPDI = [0.40, 0.69]). High depressive symptoms were associated with reduced attachment to the unborn baby (95% HPDI [-0.46, -0.1]). Whilst women who appraised the impact of COVID-19 to be more negative showed higher levels of anxiety (HPDI = [0.15, 0.46]), higher social support acted as a protective factor and was associated with lower anxiety (95% HPDI = [-0.52, -0.21]).<h4>Conclusions</h4>The current findings demonstrate that direct experience of prenatal trauma, such as the one experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, significantly amplifies mothers' vulnerability to mental health symptoms and impairs the formation of a positive relationship with their unborn baby. Health services should prioritise interventions strategies aimed at fostering support for pregnant women.
Project description:International evidence published so far shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted on global mental health. Specifically, there is some research suggesting that the psychological distress related to depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress has impacted on the psychological well-being of the general population. Yet, there is limited evidence on the relational paths between COVID-19 traumatic distress and depression. Participants of this cross-sectional study were 456 adults 18 years old or older from the general population (Mean age = 41.2 years, SD = 11.7) who completed an online questionnaire including measures assessing depression, anxiety, resilience, hope and traumatic distress related to COVID-19. Structural equation modelling was applied to examine the proposed mediation model. The results confirmed the proposed model, with traumatic distress of COVID-19, resilience, anxiety and hope explaining a considerable amount of variance (59%) in depression scores. Traumatic distress of COVID-19 was a strong positive predictor of depression, while anxiety, hope and resilience were both joint and unique mediators of this relationship. Exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic is strongly associated with depression in adults of the general population. The co-occurrence of anxiety may negatively contribute to experiencing higher levels of depression, while resilience and hope may act as buffers against depression associated with the impact of this pandemic. Our findings suggest that wide community-based interventions designed to promote resilience, build hope and reduce anxiety may help mitigate depression associated with exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The rapid outbreak of COVID-19 around the world has adversely affected the mental health of the public. The prevalence of anxiety among the public has increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are few studies evaluating the effects of positive psychological responses and information-seeking behaviors on anxiety experienced among social media users during the COVID-19 pandemic.<h4>Objective</h4>This study evaluated the prevalence of anxiety and its associated factors among WeChat users in mainland China during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.<h4>Methods</h4>From February 10 to February 24, 2020, a nationwide, web-based cross-sectional survey study was carried out using convenience sampling. Participants' levels of anxiety, positive psychological responses, and information-seeking behaviors were assessed. The survey was distributed among WeChat users via the WeChat smartphone platform. Chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the factors associated with anxiety.<h4>Results</h4>This study found that the prevalence of anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item [GAD-7] scale score ≥7) among WeChat users in China was 17.96% (446/2483) during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results of multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that information-seeking behaviors such as cannot stop searching for information on COVID-19, being concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic, and spending more than 1 hour per day consuming information about the pandemic were found to be associated with increased levels of anxiety. Additionally, participants who chose social media and commercial media as the primary sources to obtain information about the COVID-19 pandemic were found more likely to report anxiety. Conversely, participants who were confident or rational about the COVID-19 pandemic were less likely to report anxiety.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study found that positive psychological responses and information-seeking behaviors were closely associated with anxiety among WeChat users during the COVID-19 pandemic in China. It might be paramount to enhance mental well-being by helping people respond to the COVID-19 pandemic more rationally and positively in order to decrease symptoms of anxiety.