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      COVID-19, people with disabilities, and the Italian government recovery: investigating the impact and promoting psychological resources to prevent future emergencies


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          Given its profound and transversal impact, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 marked a deep point of division in how people make sense of the world and their lives. The consequences of this event were remarkable, especially for populations already facing vulnerability, exclusion, and discrimination. In Italy, over 3 million people (5.2% of the entire population) have a disability due to health issues or severe limitations that prevent them from performing daily activities. Although the COVID-19 health emergency aggravated and amplified these problems, research and studies investigating the incidence of psychological distress and the role of psychological resources for people with disabilities in the aftermath of the pandemic are still to be implemented. For these reasons, the Department of Psychology conducted a study on behalf of the Italian Government to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social, psychological, and economic wellbeing of Italians with disabilities.


          The aim was to assess the consequences of the pandemic on this population, especially the impacts related to the lockdowns and preventive measures, and to evaluate the protective role that could be played by psychological resources such as resilience, future orientation, and career adaptability in a Life Design perspective. With the collaboration of local, regional, and national associations for people with disability, an anonymous, online self-report questionnaire was distributed to 403 persons with disabilities in Italy.


          Results showed a strong relationship between the levels of psychological resources and life satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic.


          In line with studies in international literature regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disabilities, this research highlights the extension of this period’s impacts on this population’s psychological wellbeing. Moreover, this study amplifies the urgent call for action and research in promoting Life Design psychological resources, given their positive and protective role in preserving and increasing people’s wellbeing.

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          Most cited references77

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          Using thematic analysis in psychology

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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 Satisfaction With Life Scale.

              This article reports the development and validation of a scale to measure global life satisfaction, the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Among the various components of subjective well-being, the SWLS is narrowly focused to assess global life satisfaction and does not tap related constructs such as positive affect or loneliness. The SWLS is shown to have favorable psychometric properties, including high internal consistency and high temporal reliability. Scores on the SWLS correlate moderately to highly with other measures of subjective well-being, and correlate predictably with specific personality characteristics. It is noted that the SWLS is Suited for use with different age groups, and other potential uses of the scale are discussed.

                Author and article information

                URI : http://loop.frontiersin.org/people/435103/overviewRole: Role:
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                URI : http://loop.frontiersin.org/people/1306999/overviewRole: Role:
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                URI : http://loop.frontiersin.org/people/883351/overviewRole: Role: Role: Role: Role:
                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                25 October 2023
                : 14
                : 1260853
                [1] 1Department of Psychology, University of Milan-Bicocca , Milan, Italy
                [2] 2Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Valle D’Aosta , Aosta, Italy
                Author notes

                Edited by: Immacolata Di Napoli, University of Naples Federico II, Italy

                Reviewed by: Ernesto Lodi, University of Sassari, Italy; Elizabeth Tricomi, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, United States; Wesley Ameden, Rutgers University, Newark, United States, in collaboration with reviewer ET; Maria Cristina Ginevra, University of Padua, Italy

                *Correspondence: Elisabetta Camussi, elisabetta.camussi@ 123456unimib.it
                Copyright © 2023 Camussi, Meneghetti, Sbarra, Rella, Barillà, Sassi, Montali and Annovazzi.

                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.

                : 18 July 2023
                : 06 October 2023
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 81, Pages: 15, Words: 14142
                The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. The authors declare that the DISCOVID project is a National Research Project conducted in collaboration with the Italian Government (2021–2022) and funded by the Italian Disability Office of the Council of Ministers. The authors declare that this study received funding from the Italian Disability Office of the Council of Ministers. The authors declare that the funder was not involved in the study design, collection, analysis, interpretation of data, the writing of this article, or the decision to submit it for publication.
                Original Research
                Custom metadata
                Personality and Social Psychology

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                people with disabilities,covid-19,life design,wellbeing,resilience,future orientation,career adaptability,life satisfaction


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