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Special Issue "Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2023 | Viewed by 13834

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Pedro Silva Moreira
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Psychological Neuroscience Lab, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
Interests: neuroimaging; neuroeconomics; emotional processing
Dr. Pedro Morgado
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Medicine, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
Interests: mental health; decision-making; neuroscience
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Pedro R Almeida
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Porto, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
Interests: neuroscience; psychopathy; psychophysiology
Dr. Ary Gadelha
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo 05508-090, Brasil
Interests: mental health; psychiatry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented worldwide crisis with dramatic implications across several societal levels. Besides the concerns related to the propagation of the disorder, many important economic and societal challenges have been raised.

The restrictions that are imposed to reduce the propagation of the disorder lead to increased social distancing between individuals with potential implications for mental health. In such a context, it is relevant not only to understand the domains that are affected by the pandemic, but also to investigate which aspects may mitigate pandemic-related negative effects.

This special issue aims to publish contributions pertaining to psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be looking for investigations characterizing the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions on human behavior, with a particular focus on social and emotional processes. Topics of interest include: descriptions of social and emotional consequences of the pandemic; impact of the pandemic on addictive behavior, including addiction or gambling; identification of mitigating/aggravating predictors of social and emotional variables. Considering the potential relevance of media and technology in a context where individuals are socially isolated, we also invite submissions addressing (but not limited to) the influence of broadcasting of pandemic-related news on the adoption of protective behavior and mental health variables, the dissemination of fake-news related to COVID-19 and their potential impact on mental health, the use of digital technology (e.g., social-media, online gaming) and their association with mental health variables.

Dr. Pedro Silva Moreira
Prof. Pedro Morgado
Prof. Dr. Pedro R Almeida
Dr. Ary Gadelha
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. 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 2500 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

  • COVID-19
  • Emotion
  • Mental Health
  • Communication
  • Addiction
  • Gambling
  • Media Psychology

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Article
The Implication of the First Wave of COVID-19 on Mental Health: Results from a Portuguese Sample
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6489; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116489 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
The social conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic had a great potential to affect the mental health of individuals. Meta-analyses indicate a rise in these problems in these periods among general populations, patients and health professionals, even with substantial heterogeneous results. This paper [...] Read more.
The social conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic had a great potential to affect the mental health of individuals. Meta-analyses indicate a rise in these problems in these periods among general populations, patients and health professionals, even with substantial heterogeneous results. This paper examines mental health impacts specifically during the first wave of COVID-19. An online survey was conducted with a Portuguese convenience sample (N = 1.062) comprising questions about substance use, perceived stress, post-traumatic stress disorder and self-damage behaviors. The results concerning substance use show an extensive use of medication to sleep or calm down, especially among women and older respondents, a small percentage of alcohol consumers with a high pattern of use and less frequent cannabis consumption, even with a quarter of users who began only in the COVID-19 period. The rates of perceived stress and PTSD were higher compared with international prevalence estimations during the pandemic conditions. Both correlated measures were worse for women and young people. Another problematic issue was the rate of suicidal ideation, with a relevant proportion of starters during this period. These data reinforce the need to promote access to mental health services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Article
Convalescents’ Reports on COVID-19 Experience—A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106147 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 247
Abstract
Background: The dynamic character of the COVID-19 pandemic and its social consequences caused several medical and societal issues and dilemmas. The aim of our qualitative research was to capture and analyze attitudes and beliefs of convalescents who experienced mild symptoms of COVID-19 in [...] Read more.
Background: The dynamic character of the COVID-19 pandemic and its social consequences caused several medical and societal issues and dilemmas. The aim of our qualitative research was to capture and analyze attitudes and beliefs of convalescents who experienced mild symptoms of COVID-19 in the first wave of the pandemic and decided to donate their plasma for therapeutic purposes. Material and Methods: The article presents results of qualitative research conducted on the basis of grounded theory (GT) methodology. Empirical material includes 10 in-depth interviews conducted with respondents who had mild or asymptomatic disease and, after recovery, voluntarily donated their plasma to the Regional Centre for Blood Donation and Blood Treatment (RCKiK). Data were collected in May and June 2020 in Poland. Qualitative analysis was focused on the experience of convalescents who entered the social role of a sick person in individual, social, and organizational dimensions. Results: The social role of the patient in the narratives of convalescents was related to three stages: (1) initiation to the role, (2) staying in the COVID-19 patient role, and (3) leaving the role. Research results enabled the distinction of three basic descriptive categories (“ontological uncertainty”, “the global and individual dimension”, and “being sick in the disease-infected environment”), which became epistemological framework for a detailed description of the roles played by an individual COVID-19 patient during the pandemic. Conclusions: The disease, despite its mild course, generated a number of non-medical issues, and the entire process of being ill was burdened with institutional and emotional struggles. The experience of mild COVID-19 is significantly modified by disease institutionalization. These results may contribute to a better understanding of the psychosocial dimension of COVID-19 and convalescents’ motivations for plasma donation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
A Longitudinal Study on the Addictive Behaviors of General Population before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5979; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105979 - 14 May 2022
Viewed by 401
Abstract
By using nationally representative longitudinal data, this study investigates the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the addictive behaviors (smoking and drinking) of the general population in China. From the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) 2018 and 2020, we extract a sample of [...] Read more.
By using nationally representative longitudinal data, this study investigates the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the addictive behaviors (smoking and drinking) of the general population in China. From the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) 2018 and 2020, we extract a sample of individuals over 16 years of age in China, consisting of 14,468 individuals and 28,936 observations. We decompose the sample into three age groups, that is, ages between 16 and 39, ages between 40 and 59 and ages above 60. The bootstrap method is used to estimate the confidence interval of the difference in the mean of addictive behaviors, and logit models are used in the regression analysis. Our results show that the COVID-19 pandemic reduces the smoking behavior of individuals above 40 years of age, and that it reduces the drinking behavior of individuals above 16 years of age. However, the pandemic increases the smoking behavior of individuals between 16 and 39 years of age. These results may be closely related to the characteristics of COVID-19 (that is, a respiratory system disease), the working and economic pressures of young Chinese and the role of drinking alcohol in building and maintaining social networks in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Public Policy Measures to Increase Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination Rate in Russia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3387; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063387 - 13 Mar 2022
Viewed by 622
Abstract
The total vaccination rate remains relatively low in Russia as of March 2022 (around 55%, with around 20% in some regions). In the paper, we study the reasons for it. We communicate the results of our survey aimed at detecting reasons for the [...] Read more.
The total vaccination rate remains relatively low in Russia as of March 2022 (around 55%, with around 20% in some regions). In the paper, we study the reasons for it. We communicate the results of our survey aimed at detecting reasons for the relatively low anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination rate in Russia (47.1% as of mid-January 2022) and suggest potential measures to increase the level of confidence in the Russian vaccination campaign. A total of 14,310 users exhibited interest to participate in the research (16.84% of the total number of invitations sent in the Russian social network VKontakte). After the sample set repair, only 5822 (40.68% of those who agreed to participate) responses were suitable for the research, and they composed the final set. The age range of the respondents was 16–51 years old (y.o.) with a mean of 29.1 ± 10.6 y.o. The proportion of the female gender in responses was 44.23%. A total of 2454 persons (42.15%) expressed their hesitant, cautious, or negative attitude towards vaccine uptake. Of the 2454 persons with cautious attitude towards vaccination, only 928 (37.82%) were concerned about the quality of the Russian vaccines. A total of 1323 individuals (53.91%) supported one or more conspiracy beliefs. A total of 5064 (86.98% of the whole set) showed cautious or negative attitude towards the planned introduction of a nationwide system of vaccination certification/verification based on QR codes. The main social factors that hinder the Russian vaccination campaign are: vexation over the lack of desire of officials to receive feedback from the general population regarding vaccination, wide support for conspiracy beliefs, and controversy over the QR code-based digital system. To elevate the vaccination rate in Russia, the following steps may be taken: social encouragement of those who support vaccination, increase in transparency of the vaccination campaign, acceptance of both digital and paper vaccination certificates, increase in participation of society in vaccination-related discussions, public disclosure of vaccine composition, and avoidance of excessive digitalization of data in the vaccination campaign. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perceived Changes in Psychological Vulnerability, Resilience and Social Cohesion before, during and after Lockdown
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3290; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063290 - 10 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 894
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have posed unique and severe challenges to our global society. To gain an integrative understanding of pervasive social and mental health impacts in 3522 Berlin residents aged 18 to 65, we systematically investigated the structural and temporal [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have posed unique and severe challenges to our global society. To gain an integrative understanding of pervasive social and mental health impacts in 3522 Berlin residents aged 18 to 65, we systematically investigated the structural and temporal relationship between a variety of psychological indicators of vulnerability, resilience and social cohesion before, during and after the first lockdown in Germany using a retrospective longitudinal study design. Factor analyses revealed that (a) vulnerability and resilience indicators converged on one general bipolar factor, (b) residual variance of resilience indicators formed a distinct factor of adaptive coping capacities and (c) social cohesion could be reliably measured with a hierarchical model including four first-order dimensions of trust, a sense of belonging, social interactions and social engagement, and one second-order social cohesion factor. In the second step, latent change score models revealed that overall psychological vulnerability increased during the first lockdown and decreased again during re-opening, although not to baseline levels. Levels of social cohesion, in contrast, first decreased and then increased again during re-opening. Furthermore, participants who increased in vulnerability simultaneously decreased in social cohesion and adaptive coping during lockdown. While higher pre-lockdown levels of social cohesion predicted a stronger lockdown effect on mental health, individuals with higher social cohesion during the lockdown and positive change in coping abilities and social cohesion during re-opening showed better mental health recovery, highlighting the important role of social capacities in both amplifying but also overcoming the multiple challenges of this collective crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice (KAP) toward COVID-19 Pandemic among the Public in Taiwan: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2784; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052784 - 27 Feb 2022
Viewed by 750
Abstract
Purpose: Knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) models are often used by researchers in the field of public health to explore people’s healthy behaviors. Therefore, this study mainly explored the relationships among participants’ sociodemographic status, COVID-19 knowledge, affective attitudes, and preventive behaviors. Method: This [...] Read more.
Purpose: Knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) models are often used by researchers in the field of public health to explore people’s healthy behaviors. Therefore, this study mainly explored the relationships among participants’ sociodemographic status, COVID-19 knowledge, affective attitudes, and preventive behaviors. Method: This study adopted an online survey, involving a total of 136 males and 204 females, and used a cross-sectional study to investigate the relationships between variables including gender, age, COVID-19 knowledge, positive affective attitudes (emotional wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, and social wellbeing), negative affective attitudes (negative self-perception and negative perceptions of life), and preventive behaviors (hygiene habits, reducing public activities, and helping others to prevent the epidemic). Results: The majority of participants in the study were knowledgeable about COVID-19. The mean COVID-19 knowledge score was 12.86 (SD = 1.34, range: 7–15 with a full score of 15), indicating a high level of knowledge. However, the key to decide whether participants adopt COVID-19 preventive behaviors was mainly their affective attitudes, especially positive affective attitudes (β = 0.18–0.25, p< 0.01), rather than COVID-19 disease knowledge (β = −0.01–0.08, p > 0.05). In addition, the sociodemographic status of the participants revealed obvious differences in the preventive behaviors; females had better preventive behaviors than males such as cooperating with the epidemic prevention hygiene habits (t = −5.08, p< 0.01), reducing public activities (t = −3.00, p< 0.01), and helping others to prevent the epidemic (t = −1.97, p< 0.05), while the older participants were more inclined to adopt preventive behaviors including epidemic prevention hygiene habits (β = 0.18, p = 0.001, R2 = 0.03), reducing public activities (β = 0.35, p< 0.001, R2 = 0.13), and helping others to prevent the epidemic (β = 0.27, p< 0.001, R2 = 0.07). Conclusions: Having adequate COVID-19 knowledge was not linked to higher involvement in precautionary behaviors. Attitudes toward COVID-19 may play a more critical function in prompting individuals to undertake preventive behaviors, and different positive affective attitudes had different predictive relationships with preventive behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Article
Emotional Situation of Children and Adolescents during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany: Results from the COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring Study (COSMO)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2698; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052698 - 25 Feb 2022
Viewed by 587
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic led to numerous restrictions in daily life that had a significant impact on the well-being and mental health of the population. Among others, children and adolescents were particularly affected, being a vulnerable group at risk. The aim of this study [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to numerous restrictions in daily life that had a significant impact on the well-being and mental health of the population. Among others, children and adolescents were particularly affected, being a vulnerable group at risk. The aim of this study was to assess the emotional situation of children and adolescents during different phases of the pandemic and to identify modifying factors. Data from the serial cross-sectional COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO) survey in Germany were used for this study. The survey waves 12 (19th/20th May 2020) and 21 (15th/16th September 2020) were investigated as examples of two different pandemic phases. The psychosocial and emotional situation and well-being of children were measured with the emotional subscale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) assessed by parents. Descriptive analyses and logistic regressions were calculated. In total, a third of the participating parents in wave 12 and in wave 21 reported having children and adolescents with emotional symptoms. Especially children with younger parents seemed to be more affected by emotional symptoms. Sociodemographic aspects, such as household language, showed a significant association with reported emotional symptoms in children (Wave 12: OR = 2.22; 95% CI: 1.20–4.09). Reported prevalences of emotional symptoms in children did not differ between the pandemic phases. In conclusion, the pandemic had negative influences on the emotional symptoms of children and adolescents in COVID-19 pandemic waves in 2020, indicating a forecasted reoccurrence and need for preventive measures for upcoming waves and other pandemics in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown and Wellbeing: Experiences from Aotearoa New Zealand in 2020
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2269; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042269 - 17 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1147
Abstract
In 2020, in the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Aotearoa New Zealand consistently maintained stringent public health measures including stay-at-home lockdowns and distancing responses. Considering the widespread disruption to social functioning caused by the pandemic, this paper aimed to explore environmental and social factors [...] Read more.
In 2020, in the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Aotearoa New Zealand consistently maintained stringent public health measures including stay-at-home lockdowns and distancing responses. Considering the widespread disruption to social functioning caused by the pandemic, this paper aimed to explore environmental and social factors that influenced the wellbeing of individuals during the first lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our mixed-methods study involved a survey (n = 1010) and semi-structured interviews of a subset of surveyed individuals undertaken at the tail end of the first 2020 lockdown. Survey participants were recruited through social media-driven snowball sampling, less than 50% were aged under 45 years and 85% identified as female. Of those interviewed, 63% identified as female. Qualitative interview findings and open-ended survey results were analysed thematically. Participants described a variety of factors influencing wellbeing, largely related to the community and household; physical, behavioural, and lifestyle factors; access to health services; and social and economic foundations. While much of the focus of COVID-19 recovery was on reversing the economic and physical toll of the pandemic, our findings emphasise the need to empower individuals, families, and communities to mitigate the pandemic’s negative implications on wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Communication
How Long Does Adaption Last for? An Update on the Psychological Impact of the Confinement in Portugal
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2243; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042243 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 762
Abstract
During the first COVID-19 related confinement in Portugal, there was a decrease in the levels of psychological symptoms measured by the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale 21 (March to April 2020). Upon experiencing a new period of restraints in 2021, the psychological impact [...] Read more.
During the first COVID-19 related confinement in Portugal, there was a decrease in the levels of psychological symptoms measured by the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale 21 (March to April 2020). Upon experiencing a new period of restraints in 2021, the psychological impact of this sample was assessed again (N = 322, two more time points). It was expected that the psychological symptoms evidenced in February 2021 would be at similar levels to those found in April 2020, leading to a transfer of adaptation. Contrary to our hypothesis, in the second confinement in Portugal there were higher levels of depression and stress symptoms than at the beginning of the pandemic. On the other hand, the maximum level of anxiety was observed in March 2020. It seems that our perception of the threats in 2021 was not the same as at the onset of COVID-19, or that knowledge was not disseminated to the general population to increase their mental health literacy and help them cope with the imposed challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Does It Matter Who You Live with during COVID-19 Lockdown? Association of Living Arrangements with Psychosocial Health, Life Satisfaction, and Quality of Life: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1827; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031827 - 05 Feb 2022
Viewed by 853
Abstract
Background: Living arrangements might greatly impact psychosocial health and quality of life, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdown. This pilot study aimed to examine the association of different common living arrangements with psychosocial health, life satisfaction, and quality of life among Chinese adults during [...] Read more.
Background: Living arrangements might greatly impact psychosocial health and quality of life, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdown. This pilot study aimed to examine the association of different common living arrangements with psychosocial health, life satisfaction, and quality of life among Chinese adults during the COVID-19 lockdown. Methods: An anonymous online survey was conducted using convenience sampling through the WeChat application in February 2020. Mental health (Patient Health Questionnaire-2, Generalized Anxiety Disorder-2, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, Patient Health Questionnaire-15, and meaning in life), social health (UCLA-3), quality of life (EQ5D and EQ-VAS), and life satisfaction were measured. Linear regression models were used. Result: The study included 1245 adults (mean age: 34.14 ± 10.71) in China. Compared to other living arrangements, participants who “live with partner and children” or “live with partner, children and parents” were more likely to have better outcomes of mental health, social health, quality of life, and life satisfaction. Participants who “live with parents or grandparents” or “live with partner” were more likely to have better health outcomes compared with those who “live with children” or “live alone”. Conclusion: Living with a partner, children, and/or parents could be a protective factor against poor psychosocial health during lockdown and quarantine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Article
Sociodemographic Determinants of Poles’ Attitudes towards the Forest during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1537; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031537 - 29 Jan 2022
Viewed by 638
Abstract
Attitudes towards forest ecosystems have been changing together with human needs, which is amplified with society’s increasing need to spend recreation time in the forest. The phenomenon has been particularly visible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to determine [...] Read more.
Attitudes towards forest ecosystems have been changing together with human needs, which is amplified with society’s increasing need to spend recreation time in the forest. The phenomenon has been particularly visible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to determine the attitude of Poles to forests during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was based on (1) a sociodemographic background questionnaire that consisted of questions about the independent variables and (2) the LAS scale—an independently prepared tool for measuring attitudes towards the forest. In the survey, 1025 people participated (673 women). The age of the subjects was between 19 and 68. The attitude towards the forest was analysed in three dimensions: Benefits, Involvement, and Fears. The Mann–Whitney U test and Kruskal–Wallis one-way analysis of variance by ranks were used for statistical analysis. Women and people with primary education expressed the most fears connected with going to the forest. Men and people living in the countryside and in small towns, as well as respondents who were professionally active and performing work connected with forests were the most involved in exploring the forest and working for its benefit. Concerning the forest, concerned women, people from the highest age group, respondents with university education, and white-collar workers notice the most benefits from recreational activities in the forest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
The Association between COVID-19-Related Wellbeing with Materialism and Perceived Threat
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(2), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020912 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 614
Abstract
The ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound impact on people’s wellbeing. Here, we proposed that an individual characteristic might be associated with wellbeing; that is, materialism. Specifically, we conducted three studies (total N = 3219) to examine whether people with [...] Read more.
The ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound impact on people’s wellbeing. Here, we proposed that an individual characteristic might be associated with wellbeing; that is, materialism. Specifically, we conducted three studies (total N = 3219) to examine whether people with high levels of materialism would experience poorer wellbeing (i.e., anxiety and depression, in the current case). The results showed that materialism was positively associated with depression (Studies 1A, 1B and 2) and anxiety (Study 2). Moreover, such a relationship was mediated by people’s perceived threat of COVID-19 (Study 2). These findings were observed in both Chinese and American people. The findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical contributions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Gender Differences in Psychological Stress Factors of Physical Therapy Degree Students in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(2), 810; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020810 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 894
Abstract
(1) Background: The aim of the study was to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the mental health and quality of life of male and female physical therapy students at the European University of Madrid. (2) Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The aim of the study was to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the mental health and quality of life of male and female physical therapy students at the European University of Madrid. (2) Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted including a range of tests capturing different domains: 36-item Short Form Health Survey, six-item state version of the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory, Acceptance and Action Questionnaire, Three Items Loneliness Scale, four-item version of the Perceived Stress Scale, Beck Depression Inventory revised version, and Sleep Quality Numeric Rating Scale. (3) Results: A total of 151 students completed the study, consisting of 78 females and 73 males. Gender differences were observed on most of the domains evaluated. Female participants showed worse levels of general health perception, quality of life, depression symptoms, anxiety, stress, experiential avoidance and psychological inflexibility, sleep quality and loneliness compared to male physical therapy students. (4) Conclusions: The results of this study support the need of psychological interventions as preventive programs in situations such as COVID-19 pandemic. The aims of this study comprise of improving knowledge, awareness, and self-coping strategies or other psychological domains oriented to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on mental health and health-related quality of life in university students, especially among female ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Article
Addressing Depression Symptoms among University Students under COVID-19 Restrictions—The Mediating Role of Stress and the Moderating Role of Resilience
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12752; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312752 - 03 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a decline in mental health globally. Compared to the general population, university students have been identified as a group vulnerable to developing depression symptoms during the pandemic. Social isolation, a signature mental health consequence under physical-distancing [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a decline in mental health globally. Compared to the general population, university students have been identified as a group vulnerable to developing depression symptoms during the pandemic. Social isolation, a signature mental health consequence under physical-distancing regulations, is a known predictor of depression symptoms during the pandemic. Yet, more research is required to understand the mechanism that underpins the isolation–depression association and identify psychological factors that may attenuate the association. The current study aimed to understand the role of stress and resilience in the isolation–depression association among university students. Methods: Data were collected from 1718 university students between 28 and 31 May 2020. Partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) was used to examine the mediating role of perceived stress and the moderating role of resilience in the isolation–depression association. Results: We found that perceived stress partially mediated the association between social isolation and depression symptoms. Both the direct and indirect effects were moderated by participants’ resilience levels. Conclusions: Social isolation during the pandemic may contribute to depression symptoms both directly and through elevated stress levels. As an internal strength, resilience may buffer the adverse effects of isolation and stress on depression symptoms. Targeted interventions including mindfulness and physical exercise training may provide promising results in reducing depression symptoms among university students and should be considered by university administrators particularly during times of imposed physical-distancing measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Sensemaking Processes during the First Months of COVID-19 Pandemic: Using Diaries to Deepen How Italian Youths Experienced Lockdown Measures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12569; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312569 - 29 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 762
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about disruptive changes in individuals’ lives, breaking the established systems of meaning worldwide. Indeed, in the first months of the pandemic, with individuals being forced to stay at home for a prolonged time to contain the spread of [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about disruptive changes in individuals’ lives, breaking the established systems of meaning worldwide. Indeed, in the first months of the pandemic, with individuals being forced to stay at home for a prolonged time to contain the spread of the virus, the need to build new meanings to understand and face this crisis emerged. Building on this, the present study contributes to the understanding of how sensemaking processes were shaped in the face of COVID-19 collective trauma during the very first months of the pandemic. Hence, 36 Italian young adults aged between 21 and 25 submitted daily diary entries for two weeks (T1 was the third week of Italian National lockdown; T2 was the penultimate week before the ease of such stay-at-home orders), resulting in 504 texts. The stimulus was always “Could you describe your daily experience and feelings?”. The Grounded Theory was used. Thus, 15 categories emerged, grouped into three macro-categories. The core category was sensemaking as adaptation. Indeed, the sensemaking process seemed to be a strategy to adapt to the new circumstances related to the lockdown, facing the emotional, cognitive, and activation reactions such conditions by relying on coping strategies and the redefinition of primary as well as broader social relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Psychosomatic Symptoms and Neuroticism following COVID-19: The Role of Online Aggression toward a Stigmatized Group
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8672; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168672 - 17 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 927
Abstract
The present study investigated the effect of interpersonal mistreatment on the perpetrators’ mental health. We proposed that the threat of COVID-19 will increase people’s mental health problems through their on-line aggression toward stigmatized groups accused of spreading the disease and that there might [...] Read more.
The present study investigated the effect of interpersonal mistreatment on the perpetrators’ mental health. We proposed that the threat of COVID-19 will increase people’s mental health problems through their on-line aggression toward stigmatized groups accused of spreading the disease and that there might be potential gender differences in such effects. We tested our predictions among a sample of U.S. residents (Study 1) and a large sample of Chinese residents living out of Hubei province (Study 2) during a heightened period of concern about COVID-19, February 2020. Specifically, we measured U.S. residents’ on-line aggressive behaviors toward Chinese people (Study 1) and Chinese non-Hubei residents’ on-line aggressive behaviors toward Hubei residents (Study 2) as well as their neuroticism (Study 1) and mental health states (Study 2). In line with our predictions, both studies showed that perceived infection of COVID-19 can induce on-line aggression toward stigmatized groups, thereby increasing people’s mental health problems. Moreover, the relationship between COVID-19 vulnerability, on-line aggression, and psychosomatic symptoms was more prominent in men than in women. These results offer insights into people’s responses toward COVID-19 and add to the understanding of people’s mental and physical health during the epidemic stage of contagious diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Review

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Review
Time to Sleep?—A Review of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Sleep and Mental Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063497 - 16 Mar 2022
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Abstract
Sleep is intrinsically tied to mental and overall health. Short sleep duration accompanies the modern lifestyle, possibly reaching epidemic proportions. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns determined a fundamental shift in the modern lifestyle and had profound effects on sleep and mental health. This [...] Read more.
Sleep is intrinsically tied to mental and overall health. Short sleep duration accompanies the modern lifestyle, possibly reaching epidemic proportions. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns determined a fundamental shift in the modern lifestyle and had profound effects on sleep and mental health. This paper aims to provide an overview of the relationship between sleep, mental health and COVID-19. Contrasting outcomes on sleep health have been highlighted by most reports during the pandemic in the general population. Consequently, while longer sleep durations have been reported, this change was accompanied by decreases in sleep quality and altered sleep timing. Furthermore, an increased impact of sleep deficiencies and mental health burden was generally reported in health care workers as compared with the adult general population. Although not among the most frequent symptoms during the acute or persistent phase, an increased prevalence of sleep deficiencies has been reported in patients with acute and long COVID. The importance of sleep in immune regulation is well known. Consequently, sleep deficiencies may influence multiple aspects of COVID-19, such as the risk, severity, and prognosis of the infection and even vaccine response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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