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      Psychological Distress, Loneliness, and Boredom Among the General Population of Tyrol, Austria During the COVID-19 Pandemic


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          Background: COVID-19-related mental health problems are considered a public health challenge. The aim of this study was to investigate psychological distress, loneliness, and boredom among the general population of the federal state of Tyrol, Austria.

          Methods: Residents of Tyrol aged ≥ 18 years were recruited via dissemination of a link through social media and other advertisements and invited to complete an online survey from June 26th to August 20th, 2020. Next to the collection of sociodemographic and COVID-19 related variables the Brief Symptom Checklist (BSCL), the Three-Item Loneliness Scale (TILS), and the Multidimensional State Boredom Scale-Short Form (MSBS-SF) were used to assess psychological distress, loneliness, and boredom.

          Results: 961 participants took part in the survey (68.3% woman). Of these, 14.4% were burdened from psychological distress (BSCL), 22.6% reached a TILS score ≥ 7 and were therefore classified as severely lonely, and boredom levels lay by a mean of 25.9 ± 11.0 points in the MSBS-SF (range: 7–56). Women, singles, low-income people as well as those who were unemployed were significantly more often affected by all of the selected outcomes compared to the remaining sample and they had significantly more frequently consumed alcohol or other substances since the outbreak of the pandemic in order to feel better. In addition, young and middle-aged adults were particularly burdened by loneliness and boredom.

          Discussion: Our findings identify vulnerable groups and factors associated with higher psychological distress, loneliness, and boredom in the context of the pandemic. In order to prevent mental health problems it will be critical to identify options of maintaining social contacts and remaining active despite pandemic-related restrictions.

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          Most cited references 59

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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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              A Short Scale for Measuring Loneliness in Large Surveys: Results From Two Population-Based Studies.

              Most studies of social relationships in later life focus on the amount of social contact, not on individuals' perceptions of social isolation. However, loneliness is likely to be an important aspect of aging. A major limiting factor in studying loneliness has been the lack of a measure suitable for large-scale social surveys. This article describes a short loneliness scale developed specifically for use on a telephone survey. The scale has three items and a simplified set of response categories but appears to measure overall loneliness quite well. The authors also document the relationship between loneliness and several commonly used measures of objective social isolation. As expected, they find that objective and subjective isolation are related. However, the relationship is relatively modest, indicating that the quantitative and qualitative aspects of social relationships are distinct. This result suggests the importance of studying both dimensions of social relationships in the aging process.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychiatry
                Front Psychiatry
                Front. Psychiatry
                Frontiers in Psychiatry
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                10 June 2021
                10 June 2021
                : 12
                1Division of Psychiatry I, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Medical University Innsbruck , Innsbruck, Austria
                2Department of Psychiatry, Central Hospital, Sanitary Agency of South Tyrol , Bolzano, Italy
                3Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy B, State Hospital Hall in Tyrol , Hall in Tyrol, Austria
                4Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy A, State Hospital Hall in Tyrol , Hall in Tyrol, Austria
                5Department of Psychiatry, County Hospital Kufstein , Kufstein, Austria
                6Department of Psychiatry, County Hospital Lienz , Lienz, Austria
                7Division of Psychiatry II, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Medical University Innsbruck , Innsbruck, Austria
                Author notes

                Edited by: S. M. Yasir Arafat, Enam Medical College, Bangladesh

                Reviewed by: Yongxin Li, Henan University, China; Zixin Lambert Li, Stanford University, United States

                *Correspondence: Franziska Tutzer franziska.tutzer@ 123456i-med.ac.at

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

                Copyright © 2021 Tutzer, Frajo-Apor, Pardeller, Plattner, Chernova, Haring, Holzner, Kemmler, Marksteiner, Miller, Schmidt, Sperner-Unterweger and Hofer.

                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.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 8, Equations: 0, References: 60, Pages: 14, Words: 9006
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

                covid-19, psychological distress, pandemic, loneliness, boredom


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