Special Issue "Effects of COVID-19 on Public Health, Social Science, and Human Behaviors"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jangwoon Park
E-Mail Website
Leading Guest Editor
Department of Engineering, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412, USA
Interests: automobile ergonomics; aging in place technology; human-robot interaction; human automation interaction; user-centered product design; occupational biomechanics; engineering anthropometry; statistical modeling; digital human modeling & simulation; physiological measurement and analysis; obstructive sleep apnea (OSA); human personality and speech
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jungyoon Kim
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Computer Science, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA
Interests: Internet of Things (IoT)/Cyber Physical System; Embedded Systems; Bio-medical Engineering; Analytics for healthcare
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Jaehyun Park
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial & Management Engineering, Incheon National University, Incheon 22012, Korea
Interests: human factors; ergonomics; HCI; UX; user value
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a pandemic event that has changed our nations, society, health, education, and human behavior. National policies to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 have a significant impact on individuals’ social behaviors. There are substantial changes in the various social activities of an individual, such as reducing economic and religious activities, social distancing, delaying school, staying at home, and so on. In order to ensure the well-being and safe life of human beings from any sort of epidemic diseases, epidemiological studies are required to identify the limitations of the existing public health systems and human behaviors, and to suggest future guidelines.

This Special Issue aims to analyze the impacts of COVID-19 on public health systems and human behavior patterns, and to suggest future behavioral guidelines for general populations. The manuscript should be designed based on quantitative or qualitative data analyzing the situation. In addition, it is recommended that authors use various machine learning techniques to model the characteristics of human behavioral or patient data. 

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19);
  • Public health;
  • Social science;
  • Health-related social media analytics;
  • Human behaviors;
  • Healthcare technology;
  • Social activities;
  • Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Machine learning;
  • Data mining and deep learning techniques applied to behaviors, healthcare, and SNS texts.

Dr. Jangwoon Park
Dr. Jungyoon Kim
Prof. Dr. Jaehyun Park
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2300 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

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • public health
  • social science
  • health-related social media analytics
  • human behaviors
  • healthcare technology
  • social activities
  • internet of things (IoT)
  • machine learning
  • data mining and deep learning techniques applied to behaviors, healthcare, and SNS texts

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

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Article
Acceptability of Clinical Trials on COVID-19 during Pregnancy among Pregnant Women and Healthcare Providers: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10717; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010717 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Participation of pregnant women in clinical trials entails challenges mainly related to concerns about the risks for fetuses. We undertook a qualitative study from June to October 2020 to assess the acceptability of participating in COVID-19 clinical trials among pregnant women in Spain. [...] Read more.
Participation of pregnant women in clinical trials entails challenges mainly related to concerns about the risks for fetuses. We undertook a qualitative study from June to October 2020 to assess the acceptability of participating in COVID-19 clinical trials among pregnant women in Spain. Phenomenology and grounded theory were used as methodological approaches. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 pregnant women and six healthcare providers. Women were unsure if pregnancy was a risk factor to acquire the infection or to develop severe disease and expressed the limited information they had received, which led to uncertainties and emotional suffering. They had concerns regarding participation in clinical trials on COVID-19, regardless of the drug under study. Healthcare providers alluded to the importance of involving pregnant women’s relatives at the recruitment visit of the clinical trial. These findings may be useful to facilitate pregnant women’s participation in clinical trials. Full article
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Article
Mental Resilience of Medical Practitioners in Singapore during COVID-19: Survey Results from a Webinar Course on Resilience
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9801; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189801 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 460
Abstract
Front-line doctors are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. The mental resilience of general practitioners and their areas of concerns and support required are important during this COVID-19 period. A total of 403 general practitioners attending a webinar on resiliency, hosted by [...] Read more.
Front-line doctors are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. The mental resilience of general practitioners and their areas of concerns and support required are important during this COVID-19 period. A total of 403 general practitioners attending a webinar on resiliency, hosted by the College of Family Physicians, Singapore, participated in the survey anonymously. Participants provided responses to questions relating to COVID-19 in the domains of Family and friends, Myself, Practice, and Community. Responses are categorized into LEARNING, FEAR, and GROWTH zones. The majority of the doctors reported to be in the GROWTH zone in relation to Family and friends (39%) and Myself (38%) as compared to Practice and Community, aOR = 4.5 (95% CI 3.4 to 5.9), p < 0.001. 34% of the participants reported being in the FEAR zone in relation to Family and friends, aOR = 8.0 (95% CI = 5.6 to 11.2), p < 0.001; at least 81% reported being in the LEARNING zone in relation to Practice and Community, aOR = 7.5 (95% CI = 5.8 to 9.6), p < 0.001, compared to other domains. Supporting and protecting the doctors is important in strategic planning and management of the current pandemic and building preparedness and an effective response towards future crises. Full article
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Article
COVID-19: A Comparative Study of Population Aggregation Patterns in the Central Urban Area of Tianjin, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 2135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042135 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 962
Abstract
When a public health emergency occurs, a potential sanitation threat will directly change local residents’ behavior patterns, especially in high-density urban areas. Their behavior pattern is typically transformed from demand-oriented to security-oriented. This is directly manifested as a differentiation in the population distribution. [...] Read more.
When a public health emergency occurs, a potential sanitation threat will directly change local residents’ behavior patterns, especially in high-density urban areas. Their behavior pattern is typically transformed from demand-oriented to security-oriented. This is directly manifested as a differentiation in the population distribution. This study based on a typical area of high-density urban area in central Tianjin, China. We used Baidu heat map (BHM) data to calculate full-day and daytime/nighttime state population aggregation and employed a geographically weighted regression (GWR) model and Moran’s I to analyze pre-epidemic/epidemic population aggregation patterns and pre-epidemic/epidemic population flow features. We found that during the COVID-19 epidemic, the population distribution of the study area tended to be homogenous clearly and the density decreased obviously. Compared with the pre-epidemic period: residents’ demand for indoor activities increased (average correlation coefficient of the floor area ratio increased by 40.060%); traffic demand decreased (average correlation coefficient of the distance to a main road decreased by 272%); the intensity of the day-and-night population flow declined significantly (its extreme difference decreased by 53.608%); and the large-living-circle pattern of population distribution transformed to multiple small-living circles. This study identified different space utilization mechanisms during the pre-epidemic and epidemic periods. It conducted the minimum living security state of an epidemic-affected city to maintain the operation of a healthy city in the future. Full article
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Article
Determinants of Consumers’ Online/Offline Shopping Behaviours during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1593; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041593 - 08 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4671
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in Korean society since the end of 2019. Unlike prior to the pandemic, when online and offline activities were conducted side-by-side, many aspects of consumers’ daily lives are only conducted online, especially shopping and meetings. This study [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in Korean society since the end of 2019. Unlike prior to the pandemic, when online and offline activities were conducted side-by-side, many aspects of consumers’ daily lives are only conducted online, especially shopping and meetings. This study analysed the characteristics of consumers who have used offline shopping channels during the pandemic. In addition, participants were asked how often they will use online and offline shopping channels after society stabilizes from COVID-19 in order to analyse what determinants will be used to select either online or offline shopping channels after the pandemic. This study will contribute to provide a deeper understanding of the consumption patterns of consumers (online vs. offline) during times of deep external impact, such as a pandemic. Full article
Article
Primary and Secondary Health Impacts of COVID-19 among Minority Individuals in New York State
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020683 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1696
Abstract
In addition to the direct health impacts of COVID-19, the pandemic disrupted economic, educational, healthcare, and social systems in the US. This cross-sectional study examined the primary and secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic among low-income and minority groups in New York State [...] Read more.
In addition to the direct health impacts of COVID-19, the pandemic disrupted economic, educational, healthcare, and social systems in the US. This cross-sectional study examined the primary and secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic among low-income and minority groups in New York State using the social determinants of health framework. New Yorkers were recruited to complete a web-based survey through Qualtrics. The survey took place in May and June 2020 and asked respondents about COVID-19 health impacts, risk factors, and concerns. Chi-square analysis examined the health effects experienced by race and ethnicity, and significant results were analyzed in a series of logistic regression models. Results showed disparities in the primary and secondary impacts of COVID-19. The majority of differences were reported between Hispanic and white respondents. The largest differences, in terms of magnitude, were reported between other or multiracial respondents and white respondents. Given the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on minority populations, improved policies and programs to address impacts on lower-paying essential jobs and service positions could reduce exposure risks and improve safety for minority populations. Future research can identify the long-term health consequences of the pandemic on the social determinants of health among populations most at risk. Full article
Article
Re-Thinking the Role of Government Information Intervention in the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Agent-Based Modeling Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010147 - 28 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1281
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic imposes new challenges on the capability of governments in intervening with the information dissemination and reducing the risk of infection outbreak. To reveal the complexity behind government intervention decision, we build a bi-layer network diffusion model for the information-disease dynamics [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic imposes new challenges on the capability of governments in intervening with the information dissemination and reducing the risk of infection outbreak. To reveal the complexity behind government intervention decision, we build a bi-layer network diffusion model for the information-disease dynamics that were intervened in and conduct a full space simulation to illustrate the trade-off faced by governments between information disclosing and blocking. The simulation results show that governments prioritize the accuracy of disclosed information over the disclosing speed when there is a high-level medical recognition of the virus and a high public health awareness, while, for the opposite situation, more strict information blocking is preferred. Furthermore, an unaccountable government tends to delay disclosing, a risk-averse government prefers a total blocking, and a low government credibility will discount the effect of information disclosing and aggravate the situation. These findings suggest that information intervention is indispensable for containing the outbreak of infectious disease, but its effectiveness depends on a complicated way on both external social/epidemic factors and the governments’ internal preferences and governance capability, for which more thorough investigations are needed in the future. Full article
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Article
Changes in Physical Activity, Sitting and Sleep across the COVID-19 National Lockdown Period in Scotland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9362; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249362 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2483
Abstract
We examine the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and concomitant restrictions (i.e., lockdown) on 24-hour movement behaviors (i.e., physical activity, sitting, sleep) in a purposive sample of people (n = 3230) reporting change recruited online. Participants’ self-reported time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical [...] Read more.
We examine the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and concomitant restrictions (i.e., lockdown) on 24-hour movement behaviors (i.e., physical activity, sitting, sleep) in a purposive sample of people (n = 3230) reporting change recruited online. Participants’ self-reported time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), walking, sitting and sleep prior to lockdown (T1), during the first national lockdown (T2) and as restrictions initially started to ease (T3). For each 24-hour movement behavior, category-shifts are reported (positive, negative or did not change), as well as the percentage of participants recording positive/negative changes across clusters of behaviors and the percentage of participants recording improvement or maintenance of change across time. From T1 to T2 walking decreased, whereas MVPA, sitting and sleep increased, from T2 to T3 levels returned to pre-lockdown for all but MVPA. Participants who changed one behavior positively were more likely to report a positive change in another and 50% of those who reported positive changes from T1 to T2 maintained or improved further when restrictions started to ease. The current study showed that a large proportion of the sample reported positive changes, most notably those displaying initially poor levels of each behavior. These findings will inform salutogenic intervention development. Full article
Article
Motivations and Barriers for the Use of Face Coverings during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Messaging Insights from Focus Groups
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9298; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249298 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2409
Abstract
Widespread use of face coverings is a key public health strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, few studies have examined why Americans use or do not use face coverings, and little is known about the most effective messaging strategies. This study [...] Read more.
Widespread use of face coverings is a key public health strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, few studies have examined why Americans use or do not use face coverings, and little is known about the most effective messaging strategies. This study explored perceptions of face coverings, including motivations and barriers for use, and examined reactions to messaging promoting the use of face coverings. Six virtual focus groups were conducted with 34 North Carolina residents in July 2020. Participants reported high compliance with face covering recommendations but often did not wear them around family, friends, and colleagues. The most prevalent motivation for the use of face coverings was to protect or respect other people, including high-risk populations and individuals. Other motivators were self-protection, responsibility, desire for control, requirements, and expert advice. Barriers included physical and social discomfort, confusion or misinformation, low perceived susceptibility to COVID-19, and perceptions of identity and autonomy. Even among individuals who frequently wear face coverings, there are opportunities to improve compliance. Messaging should highlight how face coverings protect the wearer and others around them, normalize the use of face coverings in social settings, and emphasize requirements. Positive messages that focus on unity, personal experiences and the rationale for face coverings are recommended. Full article
Article
How to Form Behavioral Intentions in the Field of Drone Food Delivery Services: The Moderating Role of the COVID-19 Outbreak
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 9117; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239117 - 06 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1108
Abstract
This study was designed to identify the significance of drone food delivery services using the moderating role of the outbreak of COVID-19. More specifically, this study proposed that there is a positive relationship between the overall image and the desire. Additionally, it was [...] Read more.
This study was designed to identify the significance of drone food delivery services using the moderating role of the outbreak of COVID-19. More specifically, this study proposed that there is a positive relationship between the overall image and the desire. Additionally, it was hypothesized that the desire helps to enhance two types of behavioral intentions, which included word-of-mouth intentions and the willingness to pay more. Lastly, the moderating role of the outbreak of COVID-19 was proposed during this process. Six hypotheses were tested that used 335 samples before the outbreak of COVID-19, and 343 samples were used after the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Korea. The data analysis results indicated that the overall image has a positive influence on the desire, which in turn positively affects the word-of-mouth intentions and the willingness to pay more. Furthermore, this study identified the important moderating role of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the relationship between the desire and the word-of-mouth intentions. Full article
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Article
Exploring the Mechanisms of Influence on COVID-19 Preventive Behaviors in China’s Social Media Users
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8766; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238766 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1506
Abstract
The outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) posed a powerful threat to human life. The preventive behaviors of individuals (e.g., home quarantine, disinfection, and wearing masks) play a key role in preserving and controlling the disease. In this case, as a motivational psychological [...] Read more.
The outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) posed a powerful threat to human life. The preventive behaviors of individuals (e.g., home quarantine, disinfection, and wearing masks) play a key role in preserving and controlling the disease. In this case, as a motivational psychological system oriented toward avoiding infection, the behavioral immune system (BIS) may be activated and link to preventive behaviors. This study investigated the mechanisms through which emotional and cognitive processes resulted by BIS have promoted preventive behaviors in relation to COVID-19. We collected data on 22,005 active Sina Weibo users from 31 December 2019 to 8 February 2020 to measure their emotions (including disgust, happiness, and fear), cultural values (individualism and collectivism), moral concern (including purity vice, fairness vice, and authority virtue), and behavioral intentions (including isolation intention, protection intention, and aid intention) using Text Mind software and related dictionaries. Multiple regression and mediation analyses were performed to explore the relationships among variables. The results showed seven complete mediation paths (such as disgust–purity vice–protection intention). Each of these paths describes the effects of cognitive processes caused by BIS on preventive behaviors. We inferred that there may be path mechanisms such as disgust–cognitive processes–preventive behaviors. Using these results, policy makers can take appropriate measures to intervene in preventive behaviors (e.g., by posting disgusting images on social media to evoke disgust). The results can be used to explain differences in preventive behaviors among populations even in the face of similar thread levels. Furthermore, our research provides empirical evidence for the hypothesis of pathogen prevalence. Full article
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Article
Impact of Hospital Bed Shortages on the Containment of COVID-19 in Wuhan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8560; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228560 - 18 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1088
Abstract
The global outbreak of COVID-19 has caused worrying concern amongst the public and health authorities. The first and foremost problem that many countries face during the outbreak is a shortage of medical resources. In order to investigate the impact of a shortage of [...] Read more.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 has caused worrying concern amongst the public and health authorities. The first and foremost problem that many countries face during the outbreak is a shortage of medical resources. In order to investigate the impact of a shortage of hospital beds on the COVID-19 outbreak, we formulated a piecewise smooth model for describing the limitation of hospital beds. We parameterized the model while using data on the cumulative numbers of confirmed cases, recovered cases, and deaths in Wuhan city from 10 January to 12 April 2020. The results showed that, even with strong prevention and control measures in Wuhan, slowing down the supply rate, reducing the maximum capacity, and delaying the supply time of hospital beds all aggravated the outbreak severity by magnifying the cumulative numbers of confirmed cases and deaths, lengthening the end time of the pandemic, enlarging the value of the effective reproduction number during the outbreak, and postponing the time when the threshold value was reduced to 1. Our results demonstrated that establishment of the Huoshenshan, Leishenshan, and Fangcang shelter hospitals avoided 22,786 people from being infected and saved 6524 lives. Furthermore, the intervention of supplying hospital beds avoided infections in 362,360 people and saved the lives of 274,591 persons. This confirmed that the quick establishment of the Huoshenshan, Leishenshan Hospitals, and Fangcang shelter hospitals, and the designation of other hospitals for COVID-19 patients played important roles in containing the outbreak in Wuhan. Full article
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Article
Voluntary Reduction of Social Interaction during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Taiwan: Related Factors and Association with Perceived Social Support
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8039; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218039 - 31 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1382
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the proportion of individuals who voluntarily reduced interaction with their family members, friends, and colleagues or classmates to avoid coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection and the associations of reduced social interaction with perceived social support during the COVID-19 [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the proportion of individuals who voluntarily reduced interaction with their family members, friends, and colleagues or classmates to avoid coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection and the associations of reduced social interaction with perceived social support during the COVID-19 pandemic in Taiwan. Moreover, the related factors of voluntary reduction of social interaction were examined. We recruited participants via a Facebook advertisement. We determined the reduced social interaction, perceived social support, cognitive and affective constructs of health belief and demographic characteristics among 1954 respondents (1305 women and 649 men; mean age: 37.9 years with standard deviation 10.8 years). In total, 38.1% of respondents voluntarily reduced their social interaction with friends to avoid COVID-19 infection, 36.1% voluntarily reduced their interaction with colleagues or classmates, and 11.1% voluntarily reduced interaction with family members. Respondents who voluntarily reduced interaction with other people reported lower perceived social support than those who did not voluntarily reduce interaction. Respondents who were older and had a higher level of worry regarding contracting COVID-19 were more likely to voluntarily reduce interaction with family members, friends, and colleagues or classmates to avoid COVID-19 infection than respondents who were younger and had a lower level of worry regarding contracting COVID-19, respectively. The present study revealed that despite strict social distancing measures not being implemented in Taiwan, more than one-third of respondents voluntarily reduced their interaction with friends and colleagues or classmates. The general public should be encouraged to maintain social contacts through appropriately distanced in-person visits and telecommunication. Full article
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Article
Exploring How Media Influence Preventive Behavior and Excessive Preventive Intention during the COVID-19 Pandemic in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7990; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217990 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1571
Abstract
In the context of global fighting against the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, how to promote the public implementation of preventive behavior is the top priority of pandemic prevention and control. This study aimed at probing how the media would affect the public’s preventive behavior [...] Read more.
In the context of global fighting against the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, how to promote the public implementation of preventive behavior is the top priority of pandemic prevention and control. This study aimed at probing how the media would affect the public’s preventive behavior and excessive preventive intention accordingly. Data were collected from 653 respondents in the Chinese mainland through online questionnaires and further analyzed by using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). Taking risk perception, negative emotions, and subjective norms as mediators, this study explored the impact of mass media exposure and social networking services involvement on preventive behavior and excessive preventive intention. Based on differences in the severity of the pandemic, the samples were divided into the Wuhan group and other regions group for multi-group comparison. The results showed that mass media exposure had a significant positive impact on subjective norms; moreover, mass media exposure could significantly enhance preventive behavior through subjective norms, and social networking services involvement had a significant positive impact on negative emotions; meanwhile, social networking services involvement promoted excessive preventive intention through negative emotions. Full article
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Article
Impact of COVID-19Quarantine on Low Back Pain Intensity, Prevalence, and Associated Risk Factors among Adult Citizens Residing in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia): A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7302; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197302 - 06 Oct 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3198
Abstract
This study aimed to estimate the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) quarantine on low back pain (LBP) intensity, prevalence, and associated risk factors among adults in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). A total of 463 adults (259 males and 204 females) aged between [...] Read more.
This study aimed to estimate the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) quarantine on low back pain (LBP) intensity, prevalence, and associated risk factors among adults in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). A total of 463 adults (259 males and 204 females) aged between 18 and 64 years and residing in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) participated in this cross-sectional study. A self-administered structured questionnaire composed of 20 questions regarding demographic characteristics, work- and academic-related aspects, physical activity (PA), daily habits and tasks, and pain-related aspects was used. The LBP point prevalence before the quarantine was 38.8%, and 43.8% after the quarantine. The LBP intensity significantly increased during the quarantine. The low back was also the most common musculoskeletal pain area. Furthermore, during the quarantine, a significantly higher LBP intensity was reported by those individuals who (a) were aged between 35 and 49 years old, (b) had a body mass index equal to or exceeding 30, (c) underwent higher levels of stress, (d) did not comply with the ergonomic recommendations, (e) were sitting for long periods, (f) did not practice enough physical activity (PA), and (g) underwent teleworking or distance learning. No significant differences were found between genders. The COVID-19 quarantine resulted in a significant increase in LBP intensity, point prevalence, and most associated risk factors. Full article
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Article
What Has Been the Impact of Covid-19 on Safety Culture? A Case Study from a Large Metropolitan Healthcare Trust
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7034; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197034 - 25 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2065
Abstract
Covid-19 has placed an unprecedented demand on healthcare systems worldwide. A positive safety culture is associated with improved patient safety and, in turn, with patient outcomes. To date, no study has evaluated the impact of Covid-19 on safety culture. The Safety Attitudes Questionnaire [...] Read more.
Covid-19 has placed an unprecedented demand on healthcare systems worldwide. A positive safety culture is associated with improved patient safety and, in turn, with patient outcomes. To date, no study has evaluated the impact of Covid-19 on safety culture. The Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ) was used to investigate safety culture at a large UK healthcare trust during Covid-19. Findings were compared with baseline data from 2017. Incident reporting from the year preceding the pandemic was also examined. SAQ scores of doctors and “other clinical staff”, were relatively higher than the nursing group. During Covid-19, on univariate regression analysis, female gender, age 40–49 years, non-White ethnicity, and nursing job role were all associated with lower SAQ scores. Training and support for redeployment were associated with higher SAQ scores. On multivariate analysis, non-disclosed gender (−0.13), non-disclosed ethnicity (−0.11), nursing role (−0.15), and support (0.29) persisted to a level of significance. A significant decrease (p < 0.003) was seen in error reporting after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the first study to investigate SAQ during Covid-19. Differences in SAQ scores were observed during Covid-19 between professional groups when compared to baseline. Reductions in incident reporting were also seen. These changes may reflect perception of risk, changes in volume or nature of work. High-quality support for redeployed staff may be associated with improved safety perception during future pandemics. Full article
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Article
Associating COVID-19 Severity with Urban Factors: A Case Study of Wuhan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6712; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186712 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1291
Abstract
Wuhan encountered a serious attack in the first round of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which has resulted in a public health social impact, including public mental health. Based on the Weibo help data, we inferred the spatial distribution pattern of the [...] Read more.
Wuhan encountered a serious attack in the first round of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which has resulted in a public health social impact, including public mental health. Based on the Weibo help data, we inferred the spatial distribution pattern of the epidemic situation and its impacts. Seven urban factors, i.e., urban growth, general hospital, commercial facilities, subway station, land-use mixture, aging ratio, and road density, were selected for validation with the ordinary linear model, in which the former six factors presented a globally significant association with epidemic severity. Then, the geographically weighted regression model (GWR) was adopted to identify their unevenly distributed effects in the urban space. Among the six factors, the distribution and density of major hospitals exerted significant effects on epidemic situation. Commercial facilities appear to be the most prevalently distributed significant factor on epidemic situation over the city. Urban growth, in particular the newly developed residential quarters with high-rise buildings around the waterfront area of Hanyang and Wuchang, face greater risk of the distribution. The influence of subway stations concentrates at the adjacency place where the three towns meet and some near-terminal locations. The aging ratio of the community dominantly affects the hinterland of Hankou to a broader extent than other areas in the city. Upon discovering the result, a series of managerial implications that coordinate various urban factors were proposed. This research may contribute toward developing specific planning and design responses for different areas in the city based on a better understanding of the occurrence, transmission, and diffusion of the COVID-19 epidemic in the metropolitan area. Full article
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Article
The COVID-19 Crisis: Skills That Are Paramount to Build into Nursing Programs for Future Global Health Crisis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6532; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186532 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2138
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic started at the end of 2019 and can be considered one of the most difficult health crises of the past century. It has had a devastating effect around the world, not only for public health, but also for the economy, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic started at the end of 2019 and can be considered one of the most difficult health crises of the past century. It has had a devastating effect around the world, not only for public health, but also for the economy, labor market, and other facets of individual and societal life. Health systems have been put under high strain, and health professionals have experienced unusual and stressful work circumstances. With the aim of drawing lessons for nursing education, the present study analyzed, during the weeks of peak infection in Spain, the stress experience and coping strategies of a sample of 403 nurses from the Spanish health system. Specifically, we analyzed how tenure, stress appraisal, problem-focused coping, and support-seeking coping predicted nurses’ awareness of their education needs, both in terms of technical-professional knowledge and skills and transversal skills. Structural equation modeling analysis revealed that more tenure (years of experience) was related to lower stress appraisal (workload, −0.12, p < 0.05; insufficient preparation, −0.33, p < 0.001; and fear of contagion −0.36, p < 0.001) and more problem focused coping (PFC) strategies were related to higher awareness of professional (0.18, p < 0.01) and transversal educational needs (0.17, p < 0.01) while support seeking strategies just related to transversal training needs (0.10, p < 0.05). Moreover, the participants provided valuable input about specific contents to be considered in future nursing education programs. Implications for redesigning the nursing degree curriculum are analyzed in the discussion section. Full article
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Article
Sedentary Behaviors and Physical Activity of Italian Undergraduate Students during Lockdown at the Time of CoViD−19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176171 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 53 | Viewed by 6300
Abstract
Background: From March to May 2020, lockdown measures were adopted in Italy to contain the epidemic of the novel Coronavirus. People were forced to restrict their movement and social contacts, therefore having a higher risk of inactivity. This study, carried out among [...] Read more.
Background: From March to May 2020, lockdown measures were adopted in Italy to contain the epidemic of the novel Coronavirus. People were forced to restrict their movement and social contacts, therefore having a higher risk of inactivity. This study, carried out among Italian undergraduates, explored their sedentary and physical activities (PA) during the lockdown with respect to their previous habits. Methods: An electronic questionnaire was administered once to students attending three Italian universities after the end of lockdown. Results: A total of 1430 students (mean age 22.9 ± 3.5 years, 65.5% females) completed the questionnaire. All the sedentary behaviors increased significantly, and all the physical activities decreased significantly during the lockdown. Time spent using electronic devices showed the highest increase (+52.4 min/day), and walking the greatest decrease (−365.5 min/week). Being younger than 22 years old, female, and previously active, attending the universities of Naples and Rome and having at least one graduate parent were associated with the achievement of recommended levels of PA even during the lockdown. Conclusions: This study highlights the reduction of PA among Italian undergraduates in the course of home-confinement due to the CoViD-19 pandemic. The practice of adequate PA during the lockdown was mainly associated with the previous adoption of an active lifestyle. Promoting active lifestyles during the non-pandemic period may have had positive effects also in case of lockdown. Full article
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Article
The Relationship between Health Consciousness and Home-Based Exercise in China during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5693; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165693 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2751
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have reduced the frequency of going out, and need to engage in health behaviors at home. Home-based exercise has aroused people’s attention. This paper aims to examine the influencing mechanism of health consciousness on home-based exercise during the [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have reduced the frequency of going out, and need to engage in health behaviors at home. Home-based exercise has aroused people’s attention. This paper aims to examine the influencing mechanism of health consciousness on home-based exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic. A questionnaire method was used to select 449 Chinese respondents on an online platform; the questionnaire includes a health consciousness scale, health life goal scale, perceived behavioral control scale, and the home-based exercise scale. A T-test was used to conduct differential analysis. The hierarchical regression analysis method was used to examine the relationship between health consciousness and home-based exercise, and the Hayes’ SPSS PROCESS macro was used to test mediating effect. The results show that there are significant differences in home-based exercise with respect to gender, age, and marital status. Health consciousness has a significant positive effect on home-based exercise. Perceived behavioral control acts as the mediator between health consciousness and home-based exercise. Health consciousness can influence home-based exercise through health life goals and perceived behavioral control in turn. This paper takes a home-based exercise survey, and expands the theoretical research of home-based exercise. The findings suggest that people should pay attention to promoting the transformation of health consciousness into home-based exercise. It provides enlightenment for people to adopt health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
Impact of the Burden of COVID-19 in Italy: Results of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) and Productivity Loss
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4233; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124233 - 13 Jun 2020
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 4951
Abstract
The WHO declared the novel coronavirus disease a pandemic, with severe consequences for health and global economic activity and Italy is one of the hardest hit countries. This study aims to assess the socio-economic burden of COVID-19 pandemic in Italy through the estimation [...] Read more.
The WHO declared the novel coronavirus disease a pandemic, with severe consequences for health and global economic activity and Italy is one of the hardest hit countries. This study aims to assess the socio-economic burden of COVID-19 pandemic in Italy through the estimation of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) and productivity loss. The observational study was based on data from official governmental sources collected since the inception of epidemic until 28 April 2020. DALYs for a disease combines the years of life lost due to premature mortality in the population and the years lost due to disability of the disease. In addition to DALYs, temporary productivity loss due to absenteeism from work and permanent productivity loss due to premature mortality were estimated using the Human Capital Approach. The total DALYs amount to 2.01 per 1000 persons. The total permanent productivity loss was around EUR 300 million while the temporary productivity loss was around EUR 100 million. This evaluation does not consider other economic aspects related to lockdown, quarantine of contacts, healthcare direct costs etc. The burden of disease methodology is functional metric for steering choices of health policy and allowing the government to be accountable for the utilization of resources. Full article
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Communication
Changes in Provision of Psychotherapy in the Early Weeks of the COVID-19 Lockdown in Austria
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3815; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113815 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2746
Abstract
Reducing personal contacts is a central measure against the spreading of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This troubles mental health, but also mental health care as treatments usually take place in personal contact and switching to remote treatments might be necessary in times [...] Read more.
Reducing personal contacts is a central measure against the spreading of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This troubles mental health, but also mental health care as treatments usually take place in personal contact and switching to remote treatments might be necessary in times of COVID-19. The present study investigated the question how the provision of psychotherapy changed in the early weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown in Austria and whether there were differences between the four therapeutic orientations eligible in Austria (psychodynamic, humanistic, systemic, behavioral). Psychotherapists (N = 1547) completed an online survey. They entered their number of patients treated on average per week (in personal contact, via telephone, via Internet) in the early weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown in Austria as well as (retrospectively) in the months before. The number of patients treated on average per week in personal contact decreased (on average 81%; p < 0.001), whereas the number of patients treated on average per week via telephone and via Internet increased (on average 979% and 1561%; both p < 0.001). Yet, the decrease of psychotherapies through personal contact was not compensated for by increases of remote psychotherapies (p < 0.001). No differences between the four therapeutic orientations emerged. Results imply an undersupply of psychotherapy in the COVID-19 lockdown and that further changes are necessary to cover the increased need for timely psychotherapy in times of COVID-19. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Education Technology in Orthodontics and Paediatric Dentistry during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6056; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18116056 - 04 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1395
Abstract
Over the last decade, medical education changed from traditional teaching methods to telematic and networking scholar and e-learning approach. The objective of the present systematic review was to evaluate the effectiveness and teachers/student’s acceptability of e-learning applied to the field of orthodontics and [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, medical education changed from traditional teaching methods to telematic and networking scholar and e-learning approach. The objective of the present systematic review was to evaluate the effectiveness and teachers/student’s acceptability of e-learning applied to the field of orthodontics and paediatric dentistry. A database search of the literature was conducted on PubMed and Embase databases from January 2005 to May 2021. A total of 172 articles were identified by the electronic search, while a total of 32 papers were selected for qualitative analysis. Overall, 19 articles investigated the effectiveness of e-learning, and no difference of acceptability was reported between e-learning and traditional methods for a wide part of the articles selected. A total of 25 papers provided a satisfaction questionnaire for learners and all were positive in their attitude towards e-learning. The results showed that e-learning is an effective method of instruction, complementing the traditional teaching methods, and learners had a positive attitude and perception. The evidence of the present study reported a high level of acceptability and knowledge level of e-learning techniques, compared to frontal lecture methods, in the fields of orthodontics and paediatric dentistry. Full article
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