OCD and Trauma-Related Disorders in the Pandemic: Bio-Psychosocial Vulnerability Factors and Intervention Strategies

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (5 June 2023) | Viewed by 4703

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Medical Sciences, Surgery and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
Interests: obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders; post-traumatic stress disorders

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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Molecular Medicine and Clinical Department of Mental Health, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
Interests: mood; anxiety; psychotic disorders

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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Medical Sciences, Surgery and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
Interests: violence against women; deviant behaviors; quantitative criminology; urban safety
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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Personality, Assessment, Psychological Treatment Faculty of Psychology, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain
Interests: obsessive-compulsive disorder and related disorders in children and adolescents; borderline personality disorder

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Co-Guest Editor
Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Interests: long-term consequences of childhood trauma and adversities; role of metacognition in psychopathology; the formation of maladaptive metacognitive beliefs

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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Molecular Medicine and Clinical Department of Mental Health, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
Interests: pharmacological treatment of mood disorders; diagnosis and course of bipolar disorder; personalized treatment of psychiatric diseases; treatment of medical comorbidities in pa-tients with severe mental illness

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a severe stressful life event that can trigger psychopathological symptoms in clinical populations with psychiatric disorders, but also in individuals or in those with a pre-existing psychiatric vulnerability (e.g., people with lifetime past diagnoses, or relatives of psychiatric patients). This is particularly relevant to the development, exacerbation, or relapse of obsessive–compulsive symptoms such as pathological contamination fears in individuals with obsessive–compulsive disorders (OCD), or trauma-related conditions such as adjustment disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). Several stress factors related to the pandemic can put these people at risk of high levels of stress, impairment, and poor quality of life: family, economic, work-related issues (e.g., having lost one’s job or a loved one, having been infected), the interruption of social activities, movement restrictions, strict hygiene habits, and the increased personal responsibility for contagion.

To date, the effects of the pandemic on people with OCD or trauma-related disorders have not been sufficiently examined in the literature. The impact of the pandemic on the onset of obsessive–compulsive or traumatic symptoms in the community, but also the development of intervention strategies for such conditions, represent other research areas that deserve more scientific attention. Further studies focusing on these aspects may be of interest to a broad audience of stakeholders, including mental health practitioners and researchers, policymakers, social workers, patients, and their families.

The present Special Issue of Brain Sciences aims to collect international papers (research articles, narrative reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, case studies) focused on bio-psychosocial vulnerability factors and/or intervention strategies for OCD and trauma-related conditions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Special Issue will include international papers concerning the following aspects:

  • Biological or psychosocial vulnerability or protective factors for the onset, exacerbation, or relapse of OCD or trauma-related symptoms during the pandemic in psychiatric populations, in the general population, in undergraduates, or in specific community populations (e.g., youth, older people, healthcare professionals).
  • Changes in symptoms during the pandemic (changes in obsessions and compulsions, both in terms of their severity and in the onset of new ones; changes in the severity of symptoms of people with previous traumas and onset of new ones associated with the pandemic; changes in other clinical symptoms, both in the clinical population and in the community in anxiety, depression, sleep, and other key variables).
  • Quality of life, family/couple or academic/work functioning of patients with OCD or trauma-related symptoms (or their relatives) during the pandemic.
  • Biological or psychosocial treatment or early intervention strategies, predictors or moderators of outcomes, mechanisms of change of OCD or trauma-related symptoms during the pandemic.
  • Cross-cultural comparisons on OCD or trauma-related conditions during the pandemic.

Dr. Andrea Pozza
Dr. Andrea Fagiolini
Dr. Fabio Ferretti
Prof. Dr. Ana Isabel Rosa Alcázar
Dr. Małgorzata Dragan
Dr. Alessandro Cuomo
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • obsessive–compulsive disorder
  • obsessions
  • rituals
  • trauma
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • pandemic
  • COVID-19
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • adjustment disorders

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 828 KiB  
Article
Did Cognitive Attentional Syndrome Symptoms Predict Stress- and Trauma-Related Symptoms in the Initial Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic? Results from a Two-Wave Study on a Sample of Polish Internet Users
by Małgorzata Dragan and Piotr Grajewski
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081162 - 3 Aug 2023
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Abstract
Background: According to metacognitive theory, Cognitive Attentional Syndrome (CAS) is a transdiagnostic factor and a main mechanism of psychopathology maintenance. The main goal of this study is to examine whether CAS predicted stress- and trauma-related symptomatology in the first months of the COVID-19 [...] Read more.
Background: According to metacognitive theory, Cognitive Attentional Syndrome (CAS) is a transdiagnostic factor and a main mechanism of psychopathology maintenance. The main goal of this study is to examine whether CAS predicted stress- and trauma-related symptomatology in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic and three months later. Methods: Initially, 1792 participants were recruited online via social media; the data were collected at two time points. The measures included the Cognitive Attentional Syndrome Questionnaire, the Adjustment Disorder—New Module 20, the International Trauma Questionnaire, and additional measures. Results: Structural equation modeling was conducted in order to determine the relations between the reported stressors, CAS, and symptomatology. At both time points, CAS was a significant mediator between the stressors and symptoms of adjustment disorder. Despite the decrease in the intensity of adjustment disorder symptoms between waves, it was a significant predictor of other psychopathologies at both time points, except for traumatic stress. Conclusions: The findings confirm the assumption that CAS is a transdiagnostic factor of psychopathology and has a mediating role in the relationship between stressors and adjustment disorder and co-occurring symptomatology. The effect was particularly significant in the initial phase of the pandemic, which was highly stressful for many people. Full article
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11 pages, 770 KiB  
Article
Severity and Changes in OCD Dimensions during COVID-19: A Two-Year Longitudinal Study
by Ángel Rosa-Alcázar, Jose Luis Parada-Navas, Maria Dolores García-Hernández, Andrea Pozza, Paolo Tondi and Ana Isabel Rosa-Alcázar
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081151 - 31 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1128
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be associated with a worsening of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in both young people and adults with OCD and it is necessary to analyze the variables involved in this worsening over time. The main aim of this study was [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be associated with a worsening of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in both young people and adults with OCD and it is necessary to analyze the variables involved in this worsening over time. The main aim of this study was to examine long-term changes in total severity and obsessive-compulsive dimensions in obsessive–compulsive patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Method: A total 250 OCD patients were selected from various associations, clinical centers and hospitals. We discarded 75 as they did not meet the inclusion criteria. A total of 175 obsessive-compulsive participants aged between 16 and 58 years old (M = 33.33, SD = 9.42) were evaluated in obsessive–compulsive symptom severity and dimensions OCD assessed using the Y-BOCS and D-YBOCS scales in T1 (April–June 2020) and in T2 (March–April 2022). The evaluation was carried out through an online survey and face-to-face with a professional clinician at both time points. Results: Intragroup differences in severity were observed, reaching higher scores for patients with contamination, somatic, aggressive and religious. Some patients changed their main dimension, increasing the percentage of patients with contamination and somatic obsessions. Conclusions: COVID-19 was associated with both changes in severity and also affected some dimensions more than others, particularly those related to the virus itself (contamination and somatic). Full article
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9 pages, 485 KiB  
Brief Report
Neuroticism and Conscientiousness Moderate the Effect of Oral Medication Beliefs on Adherence of People with Mental Illness during the Pandemic
by Fabio Ferretti, Arianna Goracci, Pier Francesco Laurenzi, Rossella Centola, Irene Crecchi, Aldo De Luca, Janette Monzillo, Omar Guidi, Giusy Sinigaglia, Giacomo Gualtieri, Lore Lorenzi, Alessandro Cuomo, Simone Bolognesi, Valter Travagli, Anna Coluccia, Andrea Fagiolini and Andrea Pozza
Brain Sci. 2022, 12(10), 1315; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12101315 - 29 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2020
Abstract
Background. After the declaration of the pandemic status in several countries, the continuity of face-to-face visits in psychiatric facilities has been delayed or even interrupted to reduce viral spread. Little is known about the personality factors associated with medication beliefs and adherence amongst [...] Read more.
Background. After the declaration of the pandemic status in several countries, the continuity of face-to-face visits in psychiatric facilities has been delayed or even interrupted to reduce viral spread. Little is known about the personality factors associated with medication beliefs and adherence amongst individuals with mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief report describes a preliminary naturalistic longitudinal study that explored whether the Big Five personality traits prospectively moderate the effects of medication beliefs on changes in adherence during the pandemic for a group of outpatients with psychosis or bipolar disorder. Methods. Thirteen outpatients undergoing routine face-to-face follow-up assessments during the pandemic were included (41 observations overall) and completed the Revised Italian Version of the Ten-Item Personality Inventory, the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire, the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale—8-item and the Beck Depression Inventory—II. Results. Participants had stronger concerns about their psychiatric medications rather than beliefs about their necessity, and adherence to medications was generally low. Participants who had more necessity beliefs than concerns had better adherence to medications. People scoring higher in Conscientiousness and Neuroticism traits and more concerned about the medication side effects had poorer adherence. Conclusions. These preliminary data suggest the importance of a careful assessment of the adherence to medications amongst people with psychosis/bipolar disorder during the pandemic. Interventions aimed to improve adherence might focus on patients’ medication beliefs and their Conscientiousness and Neuroticism personality traits. Full article
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