Special Issue "COVID-19 Outbreak and Beyond: Psychological and Behavioral Responses and Future Perspectives"

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Paolo Roma
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Human Neuroscience, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome 00185, Italy
Interests: personality and individual differences; testing and assessment; clinical psychology; malingering
Dr. Merylin Monaro
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Assistant Guest Editor
Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
Interests: forensic psychology; human computer interaction; mouse tracking; machine learning
Dr. Cristina Mazza
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, University “G.d’Annunzio”, 61100 Chieti-Pescara, Italy
Interests: clinical psychology; forensic psychology; psychotherapy; personality and individual differences; testing and assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed our lifestyle when, on 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus disease outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Since then, many governments have introduced unprecedented containment measures, hoping to slow the spread of the virus. International researches suggest that both the pandemic and the related protective measures, such as lockdown, curfews, and social distancing, are having a profound impact on the mental health of the population. Among the most commonly observed psychological effects, there are high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic symptoms, along with boredom and frustration. At the same time, the behavioral response of the population is of paramount importance to successfully contain the outbreak, creating a vicious circle in which the psychological distress impacts the willingness to comply with the protective measures, which in turn, if prolonged, could exacerbate the population’s distress. For this Special Issue, we welcome original studies on the worldwide psychological and behavioral impact of COVID-19 on targeted individuals (e.g., parents, social workers, patients affected by physical and mental disorders). Moreover, studies exploring the effect of COVID-19 using advanced statistical and methodological techniques (e.g., machine learning technologies) will be prioritized. Finally, researches with a focus on practical applications that could help identify persons at risk, mitigate the negative effects of this situation, and offer insights to policymakers to manage the pandemic are also highly welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Paolo Roma
Dr. Merylin Monaro
Dr. Cristina Mazza
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • psychological distress
  • compliance
  • behavioral response
  • advanced techniques
  • health impairments

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

Article
Perceived Benefits Matter the Most in COVID-19 Preventive Behaviors: Empirical Evidence from Okara District, Pakistan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 6772; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136772 - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has affected the social determinants of health, worsening health inequities and deteriorating healthcare capacities around the globe. The objective of this study is to investigate the COVID-19 prevention behaviors within the framework of [...] Read more.
The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has affected the social determinants of health, worsening health inequities and deteriorating healthcare capacities around the globe. The objective of this study is to investigate the COVID-19 prevention behaviors within the framework of the Health Belief Model in the city of Depalpur in the Okara District of Pakistan in May 2020. Using an observational, cross-sectional, and quantitative study design, a face-to-face field survey was conducted during the epidemic of COVID-19 in district Okara, Pakistan. A sample of 500 adults was selected from the city of Depalpur the in Okara district of Pakistan, using a two-stage sampling design with cluster sampling in stage one and systematic random sampling at stage two. A COVID-19 prevention behavior scale was computed based on twelve dichotomous items. Descriptive statistics, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and negative binomial regression analyses were performed. The most common prevention behavior among study participants was avoiding going for walks in the parks (81.0%), followed by not leaving home during the lockdown (72.6%), and washing hands every day with soap and water for 20 s after going out of their home (64.0%). Fewer people exhibited prevention behaviors such as social distancing (e.g., staying at least six feet away from other people) which in the EU was recommended to be a minimum of 1.5–2 m (44.4%) and following all of the basic protective measures (e.g., hand washing, use of a face covering in public, social distancing) in order to protect against COVID-19 (33.0%). The results from the negative binomial regression analysis showed that after controlling for the other HBM constructs and sociodemographic factors, only the perceived benefits of preventative actions showed significant association with the prevention behavior scale (IRR, 1.16; CI, 1.061–1.276; p < 0.001). The study findings show that public health interventions attempting to control the spread of COVID-19 in Pakistan may want to affect a change in people’s perceived benefits of preventative actions through mass awareness-raising campaigns. Full article
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Article
Get Close to the Robot: The Effect of Risk Perception of COVID-19 Pandemic on Customer–Robot Engagement
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6314; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126314 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 400
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on customer–robot engagement in the Chinese hospitality industry. Analysis of a sample of 589 customers using service robots demonstrated that the perceived risk of COVID-19 has a positive influence [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on customer–robot engagement in the Chinese hospitality industry. Analysis of a sample of 589 customers using service robots demonstrated that the perceived risk of COVID-19 has a positive influence on customer–robot engagement. The positive effect is mediated by social distancing and moderated by attitudes towards risk. Specifically, the mediating effect of social distancing between the perceived risk of COVID-19 and customer–robot engagement is stronger for risk-avoiding (vs. risk-seeking) customers. Our results provide insights for hotels when they employ service robots to cope with the shock of COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
Intention-Based Critical Factors Affecting Willingness to Adopt Novel Coronavirus Prevention in Pakistan: Implications for Future Pandemics
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6167; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18116167 - 07 Jun 2021
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Since human beings have a long tradition of coexistence with pandemics, which may profoundly impact them, adopting preventive measures is crucial for humankind’s survival. This study explores the intention-based critical factors affecting the willingness of individuals to adopt pandemic prevention. To this end, [...] Read more.
Since human beings have a long tradition of coexistence with pandemics, which may profoundly impact them, adopting preventive measures is crucial for humankind’s survival. This study explores the intention-based critical factors affecting the willingness of individuals to adopt pandemic prevention. To this end, a representative sample of 931 Pakistanis filled in an online questionnaire. However, only 828 questionnaires were found to be complete and valid for path modeling analysis. The core findings are as follows: Firstly, peer groups’ beliefs, self-efficacy, perceived risk, pandemic knowledge, ease of pandemic prevention adoption, and risk-averse behavior are revealed as driving forces of the individuals’ willingness to adopt pandemic prevention. Contrastingly, a lack of trust in political will and mythical attitude towards pandemics are uncovered as inhibitors. Nevertheless, moral values depict a neutral role. Secondly, the peer groups’ beliefs are highest ranked, followed by the lack of trust in political will and a mythical attitude towards pandemic prevention. Finally, moral values are determined as the lowest-ranked critical factor. Based on these results, the government should promote awareness campaigns on lethality and fatality of the pandemic at both centralized and decentralized levels to win people’s trust at the grass-roots level and overcome the mythical attitude of individuals at all societal levels. Besides, access to personal protective gears should be made feasible since an easier pandemic prevention adoption would increase the individuals’ willingness to adopt such preventative measures. Full article
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Article
Precautionary Behavior Practices and Psychological Characteristics of COVID-19 Patients and Quarantined Persons
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6070; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18116070 - 04 Jun 2021
Viewed by 453
Abstract
Background: since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported in 2019, South Korea has enforced isolation of patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19, as well as quarantine for close contacts of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and persons traveling from abroad, in order to [...] Read more.
Background: since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported in 2019, South Korea has enforced isolation of patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19, as well as quarantine for close contacts of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and persons traveling from abroad, in order to contain its spread. Precautionary behavior practices and psychological characteristics of confirmed and quarantined persons were investigated for planning pandemic recovery and preparedness. Methods: this study was conducted with 1716 confirmed patients and quarantined persons in Daegu and Busan, regions where a high number of cases were confirmed during the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea. We collected online survey data from 23 April to 20 May 2020, in Daegu, and 28 April to 27 May 2020, in Busan, in cooperation with Daegu and Busan Infectious Disease Control Centers and public health centers in the regions. COVID-19 symptoms, pre-cautionary behavior practices, psychological states, and the need for improvement in isolation/quarantine environments were examined using an online survey. Results: compared to patients infected with coronavirus, quarantined persons engaged in more hygiene-related behaviors (e.g., hand washing, cough etiquette, and proper mask-wearing) and social distancing. COVID-19 patients had a strong fear of stigma, while quarantined persons had a strong fear of contracting COVID-19. Study participants responded that it was necessary to provide financial support and adequate information during isolation/quarantine. Conclusions: the study highlights the importance of precautionary behavior to prevent COVID-19 infection and the need to provide support (both psychological and financial) to patients and quarantined persons, to reinforce effective communication, social solidarity, and public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) in a pandemic situation. Full article
Article
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Primary Emotional Systems and Emotional Regulation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5742; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115742 - 27 May 2021
Viewed by 621
Abstract
(1) Background: The COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses a unique challenge as a severe global crisis affecting physical and psychological health. The main purpose of this work is to study the impact of a traumatic event while also observing the human ability [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses a unique challenge as a severe global crisis affecting physical and psychological health. The main purpose of this work is to study the impact of a traumatic event while also observing the human ability to adapt. One of the first theories to study the adaptive importance of the evolutionary lineage of the affective systems is referred to as BrainMind (Panksepp, 2010). This study aims to explore whether primary emotional systems (PES) and emotion regulation (ER) strategies show differences between the pre- and post- lockdown period; and if positive systems and specific emotion regulation pre-pandemic act as a protective or risk factor for mental and physical wellbeing. (2) Methods: 98 participants who had participated in a previous study before the pandemic were re-contacted to refill the Affective Neuroscience Personality Scale (ANPS) and the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) after the outbreak of the pandemic with the addition of the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90R). (3) Results: The results showed that the COVID-19 lockdown rules had an impact on Emotional Regulation and on a re-balancing of PES. Moreover, pre-pandemic expressive–suppressive ERQ strategies and ANPS SADNESS scores appeared as relevant risk factors, which predicted higher Global Severity Index (GSI) scores during lockdown. (4) Conclusions: The lockdown appears to have activated PLAY and CARE as protective systems, but has detuned the ability to positively reinterpret the situation. Full article
Article
Older Adolescents Who Did or Did Not Experience COVID-19 Symptoms: Associations with Mental Health, Risk Perception and Social Connection
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 5006; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18095006 - 09 May 2021
Viewed by 711
Abstract
After a decrease in detected cases in the summer, Europe faced the emergence of a second wave of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). Few studies have investigated adolescents, who may constitute a target group with possible lower compliance to public health measures, particularly the [...] Read more.
After a decrease in detected cases in the summer, Europe faced the emergence of a second wave of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). Few studies have investigated adolescents, who may constitute a target group with possible lower compliance to public health measures, particularly the social distancing measures. A total sample of 492 participants was included in the study, and the ages of the participants ranged from 18–24 years. According to the hypothesis of our study, the sample was divided into two groups: those who experienced COVID-19 symptoms and those who did not experience COVID-19 symptoms. Demographic characteristics, knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors related to COVID-19 were investigated with ad hoc items; in addition, mood disorders, self-efficacy, and social connectedness were explored. Our results showed significant differences in the variables of risk perception, self-efficacy, and measures of belongingness among older adolescents who did or did not experience COVID-19 symptoms. In this period, adolescents experienced unprecedented disruptions in their daily lives, leading them to isolation and loneliness. Compliance with restrictive measures is considered both a proactive behavior and a social responsibility, especially if supported by prosocial reasons to prevent others from getting sick; therefore, this must be the focus of raising awareness of anti-COVID-19 compliance among adolescents. Full article
Article
Individual-Level Determinants of Lifestyle Behavioral Changes during COVID-19 Lockdown in the United States: Results of an Online Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4364; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084364 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 801
Abstract
This study examined individual-level determinants of self-reported changes in healthy (diet and physical activity) and addictive (alcohol use, smoking, and vaping) lifestyle behaviors during the initial COVID-19 lockdown period in the USA. A national online survey was administered between May and June 2020 [...] Read more.
This study examined individual-level determinants of self-reported changes in healthy (diet and physical activity) and addictive (alcohol use, smoking, and vaping) lifestyle behaviors during the initial COVID-19 lockdown period in the USA. A national online survey was administered between May and June 2020 that targeted a representative U.S. sample and yielded data from 1276 respondents, including 58% male and 50% racial/ethnic minorities. We used univariate and multivariable linear regression models to examine the associations of sociodemographic, mental health, and behavioral determinants with self-reported changes in lifestyle behaviors. Some study participants reported increases in healthy lifestyle behaviors since the pandemic (i.e., 36% increased healthy eating behaviors, and 33% increased physical activity). However, they also reported increases in addictive lifestyle behaviors including alcohol use (40%), tobacco use (41%), and vaping (46%). With regard to individual-level determinants, individuals who reported adhering to social distancing guidelines were also more likely to report increases in healthy lifestyle behaviors (β = 0.12, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.21). Conversely, women (β = −0.37, 95% CI −0.62 to −0.12), and unemployed individuals (β = −0.33, 95% CI −0.64 to −0.02) were less likely to report increases in healthy lifestyle behaviors. In addition, individuals reporting anxiety were more likely to report increases in addictive behaviors (β = 0.26, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.43). Taken together, these findings suggest that women and unemployed individuals may benefit from interventions targeting diet and physical activity, and that individuals reporting anxiety may benefit from interventions targeting smoking and alcohol cessation to address lifestyle changes during the pandemic. Full article
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Article
Avoidance of Healthcare Utilization in South Korea during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4363; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084363 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 577
Abstract
Avoidance of healthcare utilization among the general population during pandemic outbreaks has been observed and it can lead to a negative impact on population health. The object of this study is to examine the influence of socio-demographic and health-related factors on the avoidance [...] Read more.
Avoidance of healthcare utilization among the general population during pandemic outbreaks has been observed and it can lead to a negative impact on population health. The object of this study is to examine the influence of socio-demographic and health-related factors on the avoidance of healthcare utilization during the global outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020. Data were collected through an online survey four weeks after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed the first case in South Korea; 1000 subjects were included in the analysis. The logit model for regression was used to analyze the associations between sociodemographic and health-related factors regarding the avoidance of healthcare utilization. Among the participants, 73.2% avoided healthcare utilization, and there was no significant difference in the prevalence of healthcare avoidance between groups with (72.0%) and without (74.9%) an underlying disease. Sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income level, and residential area) were related to healthcare avoidance. Among the investigated influencing factors, residential areas highly affected by COVID-19 (i.e., Daegu/Gyeoungbuk region) had the most significant effect on healthcare avoidance. This study found a high prevalence of healthcare avoidance among the general population who under-utilized healthcare resources during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the results reveal that not all societal groups share the burden of healthcare avoidance equally, with it disproportionately affecting those with certain sociodemographic characteristics. This study can inform healthcare under-utilization patterns during emerging infectious disease outbreaks and provide information to public health emergency management for implementing strategies necessary to improve the preparedness of the healthcare system. Full article
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Article
Gender Differences in the COVID-19 Pandemic Risk Perception, Psychology, and Behaviors of Spanish University Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 3908; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083908 - 08 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1126
Abstract
The actual COVID-19 pandemic scenario has generated a context of uncertainty, helplessness, and inequality. Yet, the perception of COVID-19 risk has influenced nutritional, psychological, and physical activity patterns depending on gender. We conducted the present research with the aim of studying gender differences [...] Read more.
The actual COVID-19 pandemic scenario has generated a context of uncertainty, helplessness, and inequality. Yet, the perception of COVID-19 risk has influenced nutritional, psychological, and physical activity patterns depending on gender. We conducted the present research with the aim of studying gender differences of university students in the perceived risk of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in psychological, nutritional, oral health, and physical activity habits. To reach the study’s aim, 300 volunteer university students completed an online questionnaire which analyzed variables of perceived risk of the COVID-19 pandemic, psychological profiles, and nutritional, oral health, and physical activity habits. Results showed that females presented a higher perception of danger to the COVID-19 virus than males but showed no differences in how the pandemic has affected personal lives. Females showed higher values of anxiety, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience, while males presented higher values of extraversion. Nutritionally, males presented greater consumption of soft drinks, meat, and pasta or rice, and lower buccal hygiene. Yet, no differences were found regarding physical activity patterns. Results from the present study could be used by various educational institutions to implement multidisciplinary interventions to reduce the stress and risk perception. Full article
Article
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Usage during COVID-19: Motivating Factors and Implications
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3571; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073571 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 799
Abstract
This study was designed to investigate the roles information and communications technology (ICT) played during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we focused on the relationships between ICT use and perceived importance of social connectedness and future anxiety, while considering relevant personality and psychosocial [...] Read more.
This study was designed to investigate the roles information and communications technology (ICT) played during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we focused on the relationships between ICT use and perceived importance of social connectedness and future anxiety, while considering relevant personality and psychosocial factors. A U.S. sample of 394 adults answered questions about ICT use, pandemic-related reactions and actions, demographics, and psychosocial factors via an online survey. Using logistic regression, findings indicated that personality (extraversion and conscientiousness) and psychosocial (need to belong and perceived attachment to phone) factors, types of ICT as news source, and gender were associated with perceived importance of social connectedness. Neuroticism, time spent on ICT for social purposes, and perceived threat of COVID-19 were associated with future anxiety. In addition, using Mann–Whitney U test, people who rated higher on importance of social connectedness had higher ICT use, both in terms of types and time spent on ICT. Overall, results are consistent with the idea that technology is a coping tool during the pandemic and balanced use can lead to feelings of social connectedness and less future anxiety. Therefore, it is important for authorities to align their messaging and outreach with people’s psychosocial, personality, and health considerations through ICT channels while empowering ICT users to be responsible for their interactions with the technology. Full article
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Article
Psychological Health Status of Psychiatric Patients Living in Treatment Communities before and during the COVID-19 Lockdown: A Brief Report
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3567; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073567 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 604
Abstract
Many studies investigated the psychological impact of lockdown measures on the general population, while few studies focused on the psychiatric population. This study aimed to investigate the role of therapeutic communities in the management and containment of symptoms of patients with psychosis living [...] Read more.
Many studies investigated the psychological impact of lockdown measures on the general population, while few studies focused on the psychiatric population. This study aimed to investigate the role of therapeutic communities in the management and containment of symptoms of patients with psychosis living in psychiatric residential facilities. Data were collected at two different points: November 2019 (Coronavirus disease 19 had not yet spread) and April 2020 (during the lockdown in Italy). Twenty-two study participants were recruited from three residential accredited psychiatric facilities. During lockdown, the patients showed a small increase in symptomatology in terms of emotional isolation. In addition, it was been observed significant differences in certain functional areas of the behavior, measured as lower inclination towards violent behaviors during lockdown, and higher scores in substance abuse and medical impairment. The lockdown condition could represent a form of containment; daily routines, along with adequate social support, are important aspects of the stability and the level of behavioral functioning of psychiatric patients. Social support and continuity of care offered by psychiatric communities can be an effective safeguard against the psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. Full article
Article
Health Anxiety Predicts the Perceived Dangerousness of COVID-19 over and above Intrusive Illness-Related Thoughts, Contamination Symptoms, and State and Trait Negative Affect
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1933; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041933 - 17 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 794
Abstract
This study sought to evaluate the specificity of health anxiety, relative to other forms of psychopathology, in perceptions of COVID-19 as dangerous. Measures of health anxiety, COVID-19 perceived dangerousness, negative affect, anxiety, depression, stress, contamination-related obsessions and compulsions, and intrusive illness-related thoughts were [...] Read more.
This study sought to evaluate the specificity of health anxiety, relative to other forms of psychopathology, in perceptions of COVID-19 as dangerous. Measures of health anxiety, COVID-19 perceived dangerousness, negative affect, anxiety, depression, stress, contamination-related obsessions and compulsions, and intrusive illness-related thoughts were administered online to 742 community individuals during the Italian national lockdown. Results showed that, after controlling for demographic variables and other internalizing problems, health anxiety was the single most important factor associated with the perceived dangerousness of COVID-19. Moreover, a comparison between the current sample’s scores on various symptom measures and scores from prepandemic Italian samples revealed that, whereas other internalizing symptoms increased by a large or very large magnitude during the pandemic, levels of health anxiety and negative affect increased by a medium amount. This result may indicate that health anxiety is relatively trait-like, increasing the likelihood that our correlational data support the model of health anxiety as a vulnerability rather than an outcome. Together, these results indicate that health anxiety may be a specific risk factor for COVID-related maladjustment and support the distinction of health anxiety from other psychological problems. Full article
Article
Precautionary Behavior and Depression in Older Adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Online Cross-Sectional Study in Hubei, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1853; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041853 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
The large-scale COVID-19 pandemic has not only resulted in the risk of death but also augmented the levels of depression in community-dwelling older adults. The present study aimed to investigate the characteristics of depression in Chinese older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, to [...] Read more.
The large-scale COVID-19 pandemic has not only resulted in the risk of death but also augmented the levels of depression in community-dwelling older adults. The present study aimed to investigate the characteristics of depression in Chinese older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, to examine the association of individual precautionary behavior with older adults’ depression levels, and to identify the moderating role of socioeconomic indicators in the aforementioned association. Five hundred and sixteen older adults were recruited from five cities of Hubei province in China. They were asked to complete an online questionnaire survey. Results showed that 30.8% of participants indicated a significant depressive symptom during the pandemic. Older adults’ depression levels differed significantly in marital status, living situation, education level, household income, subjective health status, and infected cases of acquaintances. Precautionary behavior change showed significant inverse associations with older adults’ depression levels, where household income moderated this relationship. This is the first study to investigate the characteristics, behavioral correlates, and moderators of depression among Chinese older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research findings may provide new insights into interventions and policy-making on individual precautionary behavior and mental health among older adults for future pandemics. Full article
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Article
Mediating Effects of Risk Perception on Association between Social Support and Coping with COVID-19: An Online Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041550 - 06 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 909
Abstract
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel infectious disease which has had a great impact on the public. Further investigations are, therefore, needed to investigate how the public copes with COVID-19. This study aimed to develop a model to estimate the mediating effects [...] Read more.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel infectious disease which has had a great impact on the public. Further investigations are, therefore, needed to investigate how the public copes with COVID-19. This study aimed to develop a model to estimate the mediating effects of risk perception and confidence on the association between perceived social support and active coping with the COVID-19 pandemic among people in Taiwan. The data of 1970 participants recruited from a Facebook advertisement were analyzed. Perceived social support, active coping with COVID-19, risk perception and confidence were evaluated using self-administered questionnaires. Structural equation modeling was used to verify the direct and indirect effects between variables. The mediation model demonstrated that lower perceived social support was significantly associated with a higher level of active coping with COVID-19, and this was mediated by a higher level of risk perception. The present study identified the importance of risk perception on the public’s coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Psychological Distress and Fear of COVID in Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction during the COVID Pandemia
Authors: Marco Marotta, Francesca Gorini, Alessandra Parlanti, Kyriazoula Chatzianagnostou, Annamaria Mazzone, Sergio Berti, Cristina Vassalle
Affiliation: 1. Fondazione CNR-Regione Toscana G Monasterio, Pisa e Massa; 2. Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council, Pisa, Italy
Abstract: Psychological Distress and Fear of COVID in Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction during the COVID Pandemia

Title: Health Anxiety predicts the Perceived Dangerousness of COVID-19 over and above Intrusive Illness-related Thoughts, Contamination Symptoms, and State and Trait Negative Affect
Authors: Claudio Sica; Corrado Caudek; Silvia Cerea; Ilaria Colpizzi; Maria Caruso; Paolo Giulini; Gioia Bottesi
Affiliation: Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, via Venezia, 8, 35131, Padova, Italy
Abstract: In the present study we sought to clarify to what extent health anxiety (HA) holds a specific role in relation to the perceived dangerousness of COVID-19. Measures of COVID-19 perceived dangerousness, negative affect, anxiety, depression, contamination symptoms, intrusive illness-related thoughts, and HA were administered online to 742 individuals during the Italian National lockdown. Results showed that, after controlling for demographic variables, HA was the single most important factor associated to the perceived dangerousness of COVID-19. Moreover, a comparison between the scores of our sample with those obtained by similar individuals before the pandemic showed that anxiety, stress, depression, and contamination increased at a large or very large magnitude, whereas levels of HA increased at a medium size. This result may indicate that HA symptoms are as stable as a personality trait like negative affect. The specific role of HA symptoms emerged in this study adds robustness to the distinction of HA from other psychopathologies.

Title: Avoidance of healthcare utilization in South Korea during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic
Authors: Minjung Lee; Myoungsoon You
Affiliation: Department of Public Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
Abstract: Background: Avoidance of healthcare utilization among the general population during pandemic outbreaks has been observed and it can lead to a negative impact on population health. The object of this study is to examine the influence of socio-demographic and health-related factors on the avoidance of healthcare utilization during the global outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020. Methods: Data were collected through an online survey four weeks after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed the first case in South Korea; 1,000 subjects were included in the analysis. The logit model for regression was used to analyze the associations between sociodemographic and health-related factors regarding the avoidance of healthcare utilization. Results: Among the participants, 73.2% avoided healthcare utilization, and there was no significant difference in the prevalence of healthcare avoidance between groups with (72.0%) and without (74.9%) an underlying disease. Sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income level, and residential area) related to healthcare avoidance. Among the investigated influencing factors, residential area (i.e., Daegu/Gyeoungbuk region) had the most significant effect on healthcare avoidance. Conclusions: The results reveal that not all societal groups share the burden of healthcare avoidance equally, with it disproportionately affecting those with certain sociodemographic characteristics. The study’s results can inform healthcare utilization patterns during emerging infectious disease outbreaks and provide information to public health emergency management for implementing strategies necessary to improve the preparedness of the healthcare system.

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