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      COVID-19 Pandemic and Lockdown Measures Impact on Mental Health Among the General Population in Italy


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          The psychological impact of the COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak and lockdown measures on the Italian population are unknown. The current study assesses rates of mental health outcomes in the Italian general population three to 4 weeks into lockdown measures and explores the impact of COVID-19 related potential risk factors.


          A web-based survey spread throughout the internet between March 27 th and April 6 th 2020. Eighteen thousand one hundred forty-seven individuals completed the questionnaire, 79.6% women. Selected outcomes were post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), depression, anxiety, insomnia, perceived stress, and adjustment disorder symptoms (ADS). Seemingly unrelated logistic regression analysis was performed to identify COVID-19 related risk factors.


          Endorsement rates for PTSS were 6,604 (37%), 3,084 (17.3%) for depression, 3,700 (20.8%) for anxiety, 1,301 (7.3%) for insomnia, 3,895 (21.8%) for high perceived stress and 4,092 (22.9%) for adjustment disorder. Being woman and younger age were associated with all of the selected outcomes. Quarantine was associated with PTSS, anxiety and ADS. Any recent COVID-related stressful life event was associated with all the selected outcomes. Discontinued working activity due to the COVID-19 was associated with all the selected outcomes, except for ADS; working more than usual was associated with PTSS, Perceived stress and ADS. Having a loved one deceased by COVID-19 was associated with PTSS, depression, perceived stress, and insomnia.


          We found high rates of negative mental health outcomes in the Italian general population 3 weeks into the COVID-19 lockdown measures and different COVID-19 related risk factors. These findings warrant further monitoring on the Italian population’s mental health.

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          Most cited references23

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          A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7.

          Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most common mental disorders; however, there is no brief clinical measure for assessing GAD. The objective of this study was to develop a brief self-report scale to identify probable cases of GAD and evaluate its reliability and validity. A criterion-standard study was performed in 15 primary care clinics in the United States from November 2004 through June 2005. Of a total of 2740 adult patients completing a study questionnaire, 965 patients had a telephone interview with a mental health professional within 1 week. For criterion and construct validity, GAD self-report scale diagnoses were compared with independent diagnoses made by mental health professionals; functional status measures; disability days; and health care use. A 7-item anxiety scale (GAD-7) had good reliability, as well as criterion, construct, factorial, and procedural validity. A cut point was identified that optimized sensitivity (89%) and specificity (82%). Increasing scores on the scale were strongly associated with multiple domains of functional impairment (all 6 Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form General Health Survey scales and disability days). Although GAD and depression symptoms frequently co-occurred, factor analysis confirmed them as distinct dimensions. Moreover, GAD and depression symptoms had differing but independent effects on functional impairment and disability. There was good agreement between self-report and interviewer-administered versions of the scale. The GAD-7 is a valid and efficient tool for screening for GAD and assessing its severity in clinical practice and research.
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            The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence

            Summary 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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              Is Open Access

              Immediate Psychological Responses and Associated Factors during the Initial Stage of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Epidemic among the General Population in China

              Background: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic is a public health emergency of international concern and poses a challenge to psychological resilience. Research data are needed to develop evidence-driven strategies to reduce adverse psychological impacts and psychiatric symptoms during the epidemic. The aim of this study was to survey the general public in China to better understand their levels of psychological impact, anxiety, depression, and stress during the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak. The data will be used for future reference. Methods: From 31 January to 2 February 2020, we conducted an online survey using snowball sampling techniques. The online survey collected information on demographic data, physical symptoms in the past 14 days, contact history with COVID-19, knowledge and concerns about COVID-19, precautionary measures against COVID-19, and additional information required with respect to COVID-19. Psychological impact was assessed by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), and mental health status was assessed by the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). Results: This study included 1210 respondents from 194 cities in China. In total, 53.8% of respondents rated the psychological impact of the outbreak as moderate or severe; 16.5% reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms; 28.8% reported moderate to severe anxiety symptoms; and 8.1% reported moderate to severe stress levels. Most respondents spent 20–24 h per day at home (84.7%); were worried about their family members contracting COVID-19 (75.2%); and were satisfied with the amount of health information available (75.1%). Female gender, student status, specific physical symptoms (e.g., myalgia, dizziness, coryza), and poor self-rated health status were significantly associated with a greater psychological impact of the outbreak and higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (p < 0.05). Specific up-to-date and accurate health information (e.g., treatment, local outbreak situation) and particular precautionary measures (e.g., hand hygiene, wearing a mask) were associated with a lower psychological impact of the outbreak and lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (p < 0.05). Conclusions: During the initial phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, more than half of the respondents rated the psychological impact as moderate-to-severe, and about one-third reported moderate-to-severe anxiety. Our findings identify factors associated with a lower level of psychological impact and better mental health status that can be used to formulate psychological interventions to improve the mental health of vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 epidemic.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychiatry
                Front Psychiatry
                Front. Psychiatry
                Frontiers in Psychiatry
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                07 August 2020
                07 August 2020
                : 11
                : 790
                [1] 1Chair of Psychiatry, Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata , Rome, Italy
                [2] 2Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L’Aquila , L’Aquila, Italy
                [3] 3Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS , Rome, Italy
                [4] 4Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology Unit, Fondazione Policlinico Tor Vergata , Rome, Italy
                [5] 5Department of Information Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics, University of L’Aquila , L’Aquila, Italy
                [6] 6IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia , Rome, Italy
                Author notes

                Edited by: Dinesh Kumar Bhugra, King’s College London, United Kingdom

                Reviewed by: Andres Ricardo Schneeberger, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, United States; Michaela Pascoe, Victoria University, Australia

                *Correspondence: Valentina Socci, valentinasocci@ 123456gmail.com

                This article was submitted to Public Mental Health, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry

                Copyright © 2020 Rossi, Socci, Talevi, Mensi, Niolu, Pacitti, Di Marco, Rossi, Siracusano and Di Lorenzo

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 09 April 2020
                : 23 July 2020
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 23, Pages: 6, Words: 4021
                Brief Research Report

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                covid-19,mental health,trauma,depression,anxiety,stress
                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                covid-19, mental health, trauma, depression, anxiety, stress


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