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      Italia Ti Ascolto [Italy, I am listening]: an app-based group psychological intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic

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          Abstract

          The onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic impacted individuals’ psychological wellbeing resulting in heightened perceived stress, anxiety, and depression. However, a significant issue in accessing psychological care during a lockdown is the lack of access to in-person interventions. In this regard, research has shown the efficacy and utility of psychological app-based interventions. ‘Italia Ti Ascolto’ (ITA) has been developed as a population tailored internet-based intervention to offer an online professional solution for psychological support needs. The ITA app is available on iOS and Android systems. Users completed a baseline assessment on emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression), psychological stress, anxiety, depression, and perceived social support. Participants could select among several one-hour long clinical groups held by expert psychotherapists. After every session, people were asked to complete a quick users’ satisfaction survey. Our contribution presents ITA’s intervention protocol and discusses preliminary data on psychological variables collected at baseline. Data showed significant associations between emotion regulation strategies, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and level of stress. Moreover, the role of perceived social support is considered. Future developments and implications for clinical practice and treatment are discussed.

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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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            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.
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              The structure of negative emotional states: Comparison of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) with the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories

              The psychometric properties of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) were evaluated in a normal sample of N = 717 who were also administered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). The DASS was shown to possess satisfactory psychometric properties, and the factor structure was substantiated both by exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. In comparison to the BDI and BAI, the DASS scales showed greater separation in factor loadings. The DASS Anxiety scale correlated 0.81 with the BAI, and the DASS Depression scale correlated 0.74 with the BDI. Factor analyses suggested that the BDI differs from the DASS Depression scale primarily in that the BDI includes items such as weight loss, insomnia, somatic preoccupation and irritability, which fail to discriminate between depression and other affective states. The factor structure of the combined BDI and BAI items was virtually identical to that reported by Beck for a sample of diagnosed depressed and anxious patients, supporting the view that these clinical states are more severe expressions of the same states that may be discerned in normals. Implications of the results for the conceptualisation of depression, anxiety and tension/stress are considered, and the utility of the DASS scales in discriminating between these constructs is discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Res Psychother
                RIPPPO
                Research in Psychotherapy : Psychopathology, Process, and Outcome
                PAGEPress Publications, Pavia, Italy
                2499-7552
                2239-8031
                29 March 2021
                31 March 2021
                : 24
                : 1
                : 517
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Milano-Bicocca , Milan
                [2 ]Bicocca Center for Applied Psychology , Milan
                [3 ]IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano , Milan
                [4 ]Catholic University of the Sacred Heart , Milan, Italy
                Author notes
                University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo 1, 20126 Milano, Italy. emanuele.preti@ 123456unimib.it

                Citation: Parolin, L.A.L., Benzi, I.M.A., Fanti, E., Milesi, A., Cipresso, P., & Preti, E. (2021). Italia Ti Ascolto [Italy, I am listening]: an app-based group psychological intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 24(1), 42-52. doi: 10.4081/ripppo. 2021.517

                Article
                10.4081/ripppo.2021.517
                8082536
                33937116
                81222cc0-394b-4ba6-91a4-f9679c5fa611
                ©Copyright: the Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 License (CC BY-NC 4.0).

                History
                : 10 January 2021
                : 20 February 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 95, Pages: 11
                Categories
                COVID Article

                covid-19,e-mental health,online psychological interventions,groups

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