Special Issue "The Intersection of COVID-19 and Mental Health among Vulnerable Populations"

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Psychology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2023 | Viewed by 6106

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Violeta Alarcão
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia, Iscte - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Avenida das Forças Armadas, 1649-026 Lisboa, Portugal
2. Instituto de Saúde Ambiental (ISAMB), Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: health inequalities; social determinants of health; sexual and reproductive health and rights; life-course and well-being; social justice
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Miodraga Stefanovska-Petkovska
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Instituto de Saúde Ambiental, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: medical sociology; public health; discrimination and disparities in health; health promotion among most-at-risk populations; culture of safety in healthcare

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

While many uncertainties remain as to how the pandemic will progress, studies have agreed that the mental health and well-being of the most vulnerable and at-risk groups have been affected differently in the COVID-19 era. A significant and enduring impact is expected; therefore, it is imperative for future studies to continue to consider the multiple mental health and wellbeing effects among the most vulnerable and most at-risk populations.

How do we define ‘mentally vulnerable groups’ in the context of COVID-19? We expect contributions that include immigrants or racial/ethnic minorities; LGBTQI individuals; children; the elderly; pregnant women; prisoners; homeless, unemployed or socioeconomically disadvantaged people; those with certain medical conditions; health workers, and most-at-risk-identified populations, and reflect on how different intersecting identities place people on multiple disadvantages.

We welcome Original Articles and Review Articles based on comprehensive literature reviews from different academic disciplines that engage issues of mental health, wellbeing, quality of life, resilience, hope, and fear of threats, such as psychology, psychiatry, cognitive and behavioral sciences, public health, sociology, anthropology and philosophy based on theoretical analysis or empirical studies with different methodological approaches. We also invite presentations that discuss the wide variety of ethical and human rights issues that arise from the challenges of COVID-19. 

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • mental health coping during COVID-19;
  • experiences of social distance;
  • stigma and discrimination;
  • hope, stress and fear;
  • comparisons on vulnerable and non-vulnerable groups;
  • mental healthcare services;
  • mental health and wellbeing;
  • primary care and mental health;
  • public policies and mental health.

Dr. Violeta Alarcão
Dr. Miodraga Stefanovska-Petkovska
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Behavioral Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • social determinants of mental health
  • COVID-19
  • vulnerable populations
  • hope
  • fear
  • resilience

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Psychological Effect of Discrete Outbreak Events of COVID-19 on Health Information Search in China
by and
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13020109 - 28 Jan 2023
Viewed by 323
Abstract
Community transmission events occasionally happened in the long-term pandemic, which led to repeated outbreaks of COVID-19. In addition to potential physical threats, the outbreaks could also lead to psychological stress and influence their health behaviors, especially for vulnerable people. It poses a great [...] Read more.
Community transmission events occasionally happened in the long-term pandemic, which led to repeated outbreaks of COVID-19. In addition to potential physical threats, the outbreaks could also lead to psychological stress and influence their health behaviors, especially for vulnerable people. It poses a great challenge to both physical and mental health management. However, little is known about the impacts of discrete outbreak events of COVID-19 on people’s reactions to health concerns in the long-term pandemic period. In the current study, we discussed the impact of discrete outbreak events of COVID-19 on health information search for specific symptoms in China from a perceptive of susceptibility. The empirical study was conducted after the first wave of outbreak events ended in China from June to October 2020. Three typical outbreak events happened during this period, and a total of 1800 search index data for 60 cities in China crawled from Baidu search engine were included in the data set. Using the real-world searching data, we conducted a panel data analysis to examine the psychological effect of discrete outbreak events on the symptom search and the moderation effect of the geographical distance. It was found that discrete outbreak events significantly increased the symptom search, and its impacts were various in different regions. More health information search caused by discrete outbreak events was found in cities which were closer to the outbreak area. Implications for healthcare were discussed. Full article
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Article
Gender Differences in Emotional Valence and Social Media Content Engagement Behaviors in Pandemic Diaries: An Analysis Based on Microblog Texts
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13010034 - 30 Dec 2022
Viewed by 682
Abstract
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are individualized, which means that our emotions and behaviors would experience changes of different degrees. These changes have led to subtle connections within the social media context. This study concentrates on pandemic diaries posted on microblog sites [...] Read more.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are individualized, which means that our emotions and behaviors would experience changes of different degrees. These changes have led to subtle connections within the social media context. This study concentrates on pandemic diaries posted on microblog sites during the lockdown period in China and explores the association between gender, emotional valence in diaries, and social media content engagement behaviors. Through computational methods, this study found that males and females tended to present significantly different emotional valence and social media content engagement behaviors. A negative correlation existed between emotional valence and comment behavior in female diary texts. Moreover, the pandemic proximity had a moderating effect on emotional valence and social media content engagement behaviors. This article attempts to explain the emotional and behavioral characteristics related to social media diaries and express concerns for the emotional health of disadvantaged blog users in the severely affected area during the pandemic. Full article
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Article
The Effect of COVID-19 Safety Protocols on Hospital Workers’ Mental Health: A Moderated-Mediation Model of COVID-19 Anxiety and Psychological Resilience
Behav. Sci. 2022, 12(12), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12120477 - 25 Nov 2022
Viewed by 712
Abstract
Social distancing measures can create psychological issues, especially among hospital staff who constantly deal with emergency patients. To explore the mediating role of COVID-19 anxiety on the association between COVID-19 safety protocols and mental health, and to test the moderating role of resilience [...] Read more.
Social distancing measures can create psychological issues, especially among hospital staff who constantly deal with emergency patients. To explore the mediating role of COVID-19 anxiety on the association between COVID-19 safety protocols and mental health, and to test the moderating role of resilience between COVID-19 safety protocols and COVID-19 anxiety, this work collected data on hospital staff in terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, psychological resilience, COVID-19 anxiety, and improving staff mental health. The effects of the use of COVID-19 safety protocols on COVID-19 anxiety and the mental health of hospital workers in China were also analyzed. The experimental results showed that resilience remarkably moderated COVID-19 safety protocols and COVID-19 anxiety among Chinese hospital staff. Full article
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Article
Uneven Implications of Lockdown Amid COVID-19 in India: From Harassment, Stigma, Crime, and Internally Displaced People to Stress and Coping Strategies in the Middle/Upper Class
Behav. Sci. 2022, 12(10), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12100348 - 21 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1161
Abstract
A content analysis of an English Newspaper, The Times of India (the world’s largest newspaper by circulation) during the first national lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic identified nine different categories culled out from a total of 129 news categories reporting unprecedented COVID-19 stories. [...] Read more.
A content analysis of an English Newspaper, The Times of India (the world’s largest newspaper by circulation) during the first national lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic identified nine different categories culled out from a total of 129 news categories reporting unprecedented COVID-19 stories. Half of them portrayed two sides of a coin: from daily wagers and migrant workers, including internally displaced people (23/129), harassment and stigma (4/129), and crime (3/129) to stressors and coping strategies for middle/upper class individuals (39/129). Reports evidenced increased vulnerability in the lower layers of Indian stratified society. Yet, two years later, the uneven implications on physical and mental health are scarcely studied by scientific researchers. Full article
Article
The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Fertility Intentions of Women with Childbearing Age in China
Behav. Sci. 2022, 12(9), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12090335 - 15 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1507
Abstract
On 31 May 2021, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China proposed the policy that a couple can have three children, and rolled out more supportive measures to further optimize the fertility policies. However, while the Chinese [...] Read more.
On 31 May 2021, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China proposed the policy that a couple can have three children, and rolled out more supportive measures to further optimize the fertility policies. However, while the Chinese government is further optimizing its fertility policy, the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 is raging around the world, which threatens the implementation of China’s fertility optimization policy. Based on this, this paper firstly explores the impact of COVID-19 on women’s fertility intentions. Secondly, based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, this paper constructs a structural equation model to quantitatively reveal the specific factors that affect women’s fertility intentions under the epidemic, as well as their impact paths, and then puts forward corresponding suggestions for the government to solve the problem of fertility, aiming at delaying population aging and optimizing population structure. The research results show that: (1) COVID-19 lowers the fertility intentions of women of childbearing age. (2) During the pandemic, economic pressure emerged as the biggest factor affecting women’s fertility intentions. The decline in income caused by the pandemic has become an important factor in preventing women from having children. (3) The conflict between work and childbearing is still an important factor affecting the fertility intentions of women of childbearing age. The government’s provision of perfect childcare services and their strengthening of the protection of women’s employment rights and interests will greatly reduce women’s anxiety about childbearing. Full article
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Review

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Review
Exploring the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health and Well-Being of Migrant Populations in Europe: An Equity-Focused Scoping Review
Behav. Sci. 2022, 12(10), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12100393 - 14 Oct 2022
Viewed by 835
Abstract
The pandemic is aggravating health inequalities, particularly mental health inequalities, while revealing the social determinants of these inequalities, including migration as a social determinant that mediates the interaction of social, economic, cultural, institutional, and structural factors with health indicators. Therefore, it is of [...] Read more.
The pandemic is aggravating health inequalities, particularly mental health inequalities, while revealing the social determinants of these inequalities, including migration as a social determinant that mediates the interaction of social, economic, cultural, institutional, and structural factors with health indicators. Therefore, it is of most relevance to identify the multiple interconnected factors that influence the mental health and well-being of migrant populations. A scoping review was developed to map the research performed in this area and to identify any gaps in knowledge, following the PRISMA extension for scoping reviews. MEDLINE, Scopus, and WHO Global Health research databases on COVID-19 were searched from January 2020 to October 2021. The review followed the inclusion criteria Population/Concept/Context (PCC): Population-Adult International migrants (including refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented migrants); Concept-determinants of (and factors influencing) mental health and well-being; Context-COVID-19 anywhere in the world. Of the sixty-five selected studies, eleven were from European countries and were the focus of this review with special attention to health inequalities experienced by migrants in Europe. The results cover a diversity of themes related to the effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of migrants (country-level environmental factors, social determinants of mental health, mental health indicators and outcomes), responses (such as solidarity and resilience), populations, and study methods. The evidence found can inform recommendations and interventions focused on health promotion and mitigation of the inequalities accentuated by the pandemic. Full article
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