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Special Issue "Selected Papers from the 3rd International Electronic Conference on Environmental Research and Public Health--Public Health Issues in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jon Øyvind Odland
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Public Health and Nursing, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, 9037 Tromso, Norway
Interests: inequality in health; environment and health; climate change and health; pregnancy and early childhood health; epidemiology and population registries
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is in cooperation with the 3rd International Electronic Conference on Environmental Research and Public Health, organized by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) from 11 to 25 January 2021 on the MDPI Sciforum platform. We welcome submissions from participants of the conference, as well as those who do not participate.

The Special Issue title is self-explanatory. A broad range of topics are discussed concerning public health issues in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to look at the pandemic from many sides, and we think we have covered many important aspects in the different sessions of the e-conference.

We hope to see the very best papers at this critical time for humankind. Science is crucial to bring these world health issues under control and point the way forward for a better future for all of us.

All conference contributors, both to oral and poster sessions, are encouraged to submit a full paper related to their contribution to this Special Issue of IJERPH, with a 20% discount on the Article Processing Charges. The Special Issue will maintain the topical subdivisions of the conference in the following ten fields:

  • infectious disease epidemiology;
  • environmental exposures and health;
  • mental health;
  • children’s health;
  • women’s health;
  • exercise and health;
  • health economics;
  • occupational safety and health;
  • public health statistics and risk assessment;
  • oral health.

We look forward to your excellent work.

Prof. Dr. Jon Øyvind Odland
Guest Editor

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 papers will be 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 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

  • COVID-19
  • infectious disease
  • global health
  • mental health
  • reproductive health
  • child health
  • occupational health
  • oral health
  • environmental exposure

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Article
Health-Related Quality of Life and Risk Factors among Chinese Women in Japan Following the COVID-19 Outbreak
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8745; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168745 - 19 Aug 2021
Viewed by 504
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected individuals’ physical and mental health, including that of immigrant women. This study aimed to evaluate the health-related quality of life (HRQoL), identify the demographic factors and awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to physical and mental health, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected individuals’ physical and mental health, including that of immigrant women. This study aimed to evaluate the health-related quality of life (HRQoL), identify the demographic factors and awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to physical and mental health, and examine the risk factors associated with poor physical and mental health of Chinese women in Japan following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Using an electronic questionnaire survey, we collected data including items on HRQoL, awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic, and demographic factors. One hundred and ninety-three participants were analyzed. Approximately 98.9% of them thought that COVID-19 affected their daily lives, and 97.4% had COVID-19 concerns. Married status (OR = 2.88, 95%CI [1.07, 7.72], p = 0.036), high concerns (OR = 3.99, 95%CI [1.46, 10.94], p = 0.007), and no concerns (OR = 8.75, 95%CI [1.17, 65.52], p = 0.035) about the COVID-19 pandemic were significantly associated with poor physical health. Unmarried status (OR = 2.83, 95%CI [1.20, 6.70], p = 0.018) and high COVID-19 concerns (OR = 2.17, 95%CI [1.04, 4.56], p = 0.040) were significantly associated with poor mental health. It is necessary to provide effective social support for Chinese women in Japan to improve their well-being, especially in terms of mental health. Full article
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Article
Frequency of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies in Various Occupational Sectors in an Industrialized Area of Northern Italy from May to October 2020
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7948; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157948 - 27 Jul 2021
Viewed by 558
Abstract
The results of a voluntary screening campaign for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 serum antibodies are presented, performed on workers in the highly industrialized province of Modena in northern Italy in the period 18 May–5 October 2020. The employment activities of the subjects that [...] Read more.
The results of a voluntary screening campaign for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 serum antibodies are presented, performed on workers in the highly industrialized province of Modena in northern Italy in the period 18 May–5 October 2020. The employment activities of the subjects that tested positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM and/or IgG antibodies were determined and classified using the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC). The distribution across different sectors was compared to the proportion of workers employed in the same sectors in the province of Modena as a whole. Workers with anti-SARS-CoV-2 serum antibodies were mainly employed in manufacturing (60%), trade (12%), transportation (9%), scientific and technical activities (5%), and arts, entertainment and recreation activities (4.5%). Within the manufacturing sector, a cluster of workers with positive serological tests was observed in the meat processing sector, confirming recent data showing a possible increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in these workers. Full article
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Article
Quality of Life and Psychosocial Impacts of the Different Restrictive Measures during One Year into the COVID-19 Pandemic on Patients with Cancer in Italy: An Ecological Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7161; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137161 - 04 Jul 2021
Viewed by 821
Abstract
Background: The aim of the study was to assess the perceived quality of life and the psychosocial impact of the various restrictive measures due to COVID-19 pandemic on cancer patients in Italy, as well as their perception of the relationship with doctors and [...] Read more.
Background: The aim of the study was to assess the perceived quality of life and the psychosocial impact of the various restrictive measures due to COVID-19 pandemic on cancer patients in Italy, as well as their perception of the relationship with doctors and caregivers. Methods: This study compares three population-based observational studies of patients with cancer carried out in three consecutive time periods characterized by different restrictive measures using a self-administered online questionnaire. Results: Among the basic needs, psychological and medical support appeared to be prevalent; so did the need for safe transportation to reach the treatment facilities. Internet was the main source of information on the coronavirus. Although 74.6% of the total number of patients did not give up hospital therapies, 34.8% complained about variations in the continuity of treatment, with different percentages in the three samples. The majority of the sample (73.8%) was worried of being infected, but 21.9% did not share their anxieties and worries with others. The multivariate regression analysis showed that a pessimistic perception of quality of life was influenced by living in extra-urban areas and alone (OR = 1.4; OR = 2.1); while a perception of a reduced physical function result affected by the state of anxiety and stress (OR = 1.9) and the difficulties in continuity of medical assistance (OR = 2.2). The scoring of the SF-12 in the Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary scores showed a fluctuating trend throughout the three periods investigated. Conclusions: It is important for health professionals, caregivers and social workers to identify the new needs in order to enhance home care interventions, personalize and optimize care, ensure continuity of care and guarantee a high quality of life even in a health emergency situation. Full article
Article
Assessment and Impact of the Risk of Exposure of Portuguese Biomedical Scientists in the Context of COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7097; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137097 - 02 Jul 2021
Viewed by 722
Abstract
Currently, the main public health concern worldwide is the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, which was recently discovered and described. Due to its high pathogenicity and infectiousness, it is necessary to determine the risk healthcare professionals face every day while dealing with infected [...] Read more.
Currently, the main public health concern worldwide is the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, which was recently discovered and described. Due to its high pathogenicity and infectiousness, it is necessary to determine the risk healthcare professionals face every day while dealing with infected patients and contaminated biological samples. The purpose of this study was to assess Portuguese Biomedical Scientists’ risk of COVID-19 exposure and related stress appraisals. One hundred and forty participants completed online versions of the WHO’s Risk Assessment and Management of Exposure Survey and the Stress Appraisal Measure. Participants worked mainly in outpatient settings (45%), and in emergency services (28%). Twenty three percent of participants were exposed to COVID-19 through community exposure, and 39% through occupational exposure. Although 95% reported using personal protective equipment (PPE), 83.6% were at high risk of infection. However, the use of some types of PPE was related to the risk of exposure. Participants reported moderate perceptions of stress and threat, but also moderate perceptions of control over the situation. These results may contribute to a more efficient risk management of these professionals and prevent disease transmission in hospitals and communities. Full article
Article
Relationships among Student-Athletes’ Identity, Mental Health, and Social Support in Japanese Student-Athletes during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7032; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137032 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1345
Abstract
The purpose of the two studies was to investigate the relationships among student athletes’ identity and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, this study aimed to clarify the relationship between perceived social support from teammates and mental health in student-athletes. Two [...] Read more.
The purpose of the two studies was to investigate the relationships among student athletes’ identity and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, this study aimed to clarify the relationship between perceived social support from teammates and mental health in student-athletes. Two studies were conducted to investigate and clarify the mental health states of student-athletes in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Study 1, conducted in April 2020, the participants were 402 male student-athletes and we examined the relationships among student-athletes’ identity and mental health. The results of correlational analyses indicated significant negative correlations between the degree of student-athletes’ identity and depression and sports helplessness. In Study 2, conducted in March 2021, the participants were 135 male student-athletes and examined the relationship between perceived social support from teammates, student-athletes’ identity, and mental health. The results indicated a significant correlation between social support, student athletes’ identity, and mental health. Full article
Article
Respiratory Telerehabilitation of Boys and Young Men with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6179; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126179 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 990
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic forced reorganization of the multidisciplinary healthcare system for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Digital solutions seem to be optimal for providing rehabilitation at this time. The aim of this study was to investigate whether it is possible to conduct respiratory physical [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic forced reorganization of the multidisciplinary healthcare system for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Digital solutions seem to be optimal for providing rehabilitation at this time. The aim of this study was to investigate whether it is possible to conduct respiratory physical therapy with the use of telerehabilitation in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Methods: The study was conducted during an online conference for families with DMD. During the physical therapy panel we showed the video with the instructions of respiratory exercises. All participants (n = 152) were asked to fill in the online survey evaluating the quality, acceptance, and understanding of the instructions. Results: The survey was filled in by 45 (29.6%) participants. The mean rating of satisfaction was 4.70/5, and for intelligibility was 4.78/5. Thirty-seven (82.2%) patients declared that they had performed the exercises, all caregivers declared that it was possible to perform the proposed exercises a few times a week or daily, and only two respondents replied to invitations to individual online sessions. Conclusions: Findings from the study show that respiratory telerehabilitation may be implemented for DMD patients; however, the interest in digital rehabilitation among caregivers of DMD boys in Poland is low. The reasons for this situation require further research. Full article
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Article
Association between Green Space Structure and the Prevalence of Asthma: A Case Study of Toronto
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5852; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115852 - 29 May 2021
Viewed by 1091
Abstract
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that can be caused by various factors, such as asthma-related genes, lifestyle, and air pollution, and it can result in adverse impacts on asthmatics’ mental health and quality of life. Hence, asthma issues have been widely studied, [...] Read more.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that can be caused by various factors, such as asthma-related genes, lifestyle, and air pollution, and it can result in adverse impacts on asthmatics’ mental health and quality of life. Hence, asthma issues have been widely studied, mainly from demographic, socioeconomic, and genetic perspectives. Although it is becoming increasingly clear that asthma is likely influenced by green spaces, the underlying mechanisms are still unclear and inconsistent. Moreover, green space influences the prevalence of asthma concurrently in multiple ways, but most existing studies have explored only one pathway or a partial pathway, rather than the multi-pathways. Compared to greenness (measured by Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, tree density, etc.), green space structure—which has the potential to impact the concentration of air pollution and microbial diversity—is still less investigated in studies on the influence of green space on asthma. Given this research gap, this research took Toronto, Canada, as a case study to explore the two pathways between green space structure and the prevalence of asthma based on controlling the related covariates. Using regression analysis, it was found that green space structure can protect those aged 0–19 years from a high risk of developing asthma, and this direct protective effect can be enhanced by high tree diversity. For adults, green space structure does not influence the prevalence of asthma unless moderated by tree diversity (a measurement of the richness and diversity of trees). However, this impact was not found in adult females. Moreover, the hypothesis that green space structure influences the prevalence of asthma by reducing air pollution was not confirmed in this study, which can be attributed to a variety of causes. Full article
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Article
Use of Respiratory Protection Devices by Medical Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5834; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115834 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1176
Abstract
The use of face masks has assumed a leading spot among nonspecific prevention measures during the coronavirus pandemic. The effectiveness of this protective measure depends on the specifics of individual use. The purpose of our study was to analyze the use of respiratory [...] Read more.
The use of face masks has assumed a leading spot among nonspecific prevention measures during the coronavirus pandemic. The effectiveness of this protective measure depends on the specifics of individual use. The purpose of our study was to analyze the use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) by medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The evaluation of face mask use was based on the results of a survey of medical students at Sechenov University. There were 988 participants in the study: 97.5% used RPE during the pandemic, 89.1% used disposable medical and hygienic face masks, 27.4% used reusable cloth face masks, and 13.2% used respirators. The majority of respondents (75.2%) were found to wear face masks correctly. However, 17.0% of the respondents were found to cover only their mouths with a face mask, while 7.8% reported often shifting their face mask under the chin due to perceived discomfort. Only 25.1% of respondents changed their disposable face mask after 2–3 h of wearing, while 13.0% decontaminated and used it several times. Most cloth face mask users (93.7%) decontaminated their marks, but only 55.7% of respondents did so daily. Face masks were most often worn in medical organizations (91.5%), and 1.4% of respondents did not use respiratory protection anywhere. In conclusion, we consider it necessary to introduce a special module on nonspecific prevention in the discipline of hygiene. Full article
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Article
The Soundscape of the COVID-19 Lockdown: Barcelona Noise Monitoring Network Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115799 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1045
Abstract
The lockdown social measures in Spain due to COVID-19 caused a significant decrease in urban noise levels, which was observed in most of the large cities. This paper presents an analysis of the noise levels in Barcelona, Spain, by means of an accurate [...] Read more.
The lockdown social measures in Spain due to COVID-19 caused a significant decrease in urban noise levels, which was observed in most of the large cities. This paper presents an analysis of the noise levels in Barcelona, Spain, by means of an accurate analysis of the most relevant sensors deployed in the Barcelona Noise Monitoring Network. In this work, we present the LAeq levels in eight different locations from January 2020 to June 2020—from Superblocks to industrial zones—including and detailing all stages of the lockdown. Several comparisons were conducted with the monitoring data available from the former years (2019 and 2018—when available). The results of the analysis in Barcelona show a drastic LAeq reduction (−9 dBA), especially in nightlife areas of the city, moderate to high LAeq change (−7 dBA) in commercial and restaurants areas and a small decrease in LAeq (−5 dBA) in dense traffic areas. Full article
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Article
Traditional Chinese Medicine Body Constitutions and Psychological Determinants of Depression among University Students in Malaysia: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5366; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105366 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 843
Abstract
Depression is commonly observed in university students, who are a high risk group for developing psychiatric disorders during adulthood. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of depression and its traditional Chinese medicine body constitutions and psychological determinants among university students in Malaysia. [...] Read more.
Depression is commonly observed in university students, who are a high risk group for developing psychiatric disorders during adulthood. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of depression and its traditional Chinese medicine body constitutions and psychological determinants among university students in Malaysia. A cross-sectional pilot study was conducted between 9 and 28 September 2020 among 80 university students in Malaysia. Participants completed online survey questionnaires, including the validated Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Constitution in Chinese Medicine Questionnaire (CMCQ), Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS), Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) stress subscale, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), which assess depression, body constitution, dysfunctional attitude, stress, perceived stress, and self-esteem. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to determine the associated risk factors for depression. The overall prevalence of depression among university students was 33.8%. The multiple regression analysis showed a significant relationship between depression and qi-stagnation constitution (B = 0.089, p = 0.011), balanced constitution (B = −0.077, p = 0.049), and self-esteem (B = −0.325, p = 0.001). Our findings suggest that some traditional Chinese medicine body constitutions and self-esteem are significant risk factors affecting depression among university students. Identifying risk factors of depression is vital to aid in the early detection of depression among university students. Full article
Article
Toxic Organic Contaminants in Airborne Particles: Levels, Potential Sources and Risk Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084352 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 703
Abstract
In the last years, many studies have focused on risk assessment of exposure of workers to airborne particulate matter (PM). Several studies indicate a strong correlation between PM and adverse health outcomes, as a function of particle size. In the last years, the [...] Read more.
In the last years, many studies have focused on risk assessment of exposure of workers to airborne particulate matter (PM). Several studies indicate a strong correlation between PM and adverse health outcomes, as a function of particle size. In the last years, the study of atmospheric particulate matter has focused more on particles less than 10 μm or 2.5 μm in diameter; however, recent studies identify in particles less than 0.1 μm the main responsibility for negative cardiovascular effects. The present paper deals with the determination of 66 organic compounds belonging to six different classes of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the ultrafine, fine and coarse fractions of PM (PM < 0.1 µm; 0.1 < PM < 2.5 µm and 2.5 < PM < 10 µm) collected in three outdoor workplaces and in an urban outdoor area. Data obtained were analyzed with principal component analysis (PCA), in order to underline possible correlation between sites and classes of pollutants and characteristic emission sources. Emission source studies are, in fact, a valuable tool for both identifying the type of emission source and estimating the strength of each contamination source, as useful indicator of environment healthiness. Moreover, both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks were determined in order to estimate human health risk associated to study sites. Risk analysis was carried out evaluating the contribution of pollutant distribution in PM size fractions for all the sites. The results highlighted significant differences between the sites and specific sources of pollutants related to work activities were identified. In all the sites and for all the size fractions of PM both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk values were below acceptable and safe levels of risks recommended by the regulatory agencies. Full article
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Article
A Web Survey to Evaluate the Thermal Stress Associated with Personal Protective Equipment among Healthcare Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 3861; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083861 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1279
Abstract
The pandemic has been afflicting the planet for over a year and from the occupational point of view, healthcare workers have recorded a substantial increase in working hours. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE), necessary to keep safe from COVID-19 increases the [...] Read more.
The pandemic has been afflicting the planet for over a year and from the occupational point of view, healthcare workers have recorded a substantial increase in working hours. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE), necessary to keep safe from COVID-19 increases the chances of overheating, especially during the summer seasons which, due to climate change, are becoming increasingly warm and prolonged. A web survey was carried out in Italy within the WORKLIMATE project during the summer and early autumn 2020. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate differences between groups. 191 questionnaires were collected (hospital doctor 38.2%, nurses 33.5%, other healthcare professionals 28.3%). The impact of PPE on the thermal stress perception declared by the interviewees was very high on the body areas directly covered by these devices (78% of workers). Workers who used masks for more than 4 h per day perceived PPE as more uncomfortable (p < 0.001) compared to the others and reported a greater productivity loss (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the study highlighted a high perception of thermal stress among healthcare workers that worn COVID-19-PPE and this enhances the need for appropriate heat health warning systems and response measures addressed to the occupational sector. Full article
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Article
The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Occurrence of Psychosomatic Symptoms: Are They Related?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3570; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073570 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1097
Abstract
Most studies on the coronavirus pandemic focus on clinical aspects of the COVID-19 disease. However, less attention is paid to other health aspects of the pandemic. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between the coronavirus pandemic (risk of infection [...] Read more.
Most studies on the coronavirus pandemic focus on clinical aspects of the COVID-19 disease. However, less attention is paid to other health aspects of the pandemic. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between the coronavirus pandemic (risk of infection by virus together with associated measures taken to combat it), and the occurrence of a wide range of psychosomatic symptoms and to explore if there is any factor that plays a role in this association. We collected data from a sample of Czech adults (n = 1431) and measured the occurrence of nine health complaints, respondents’ experience during the pandemic and sociodemographic characteristics. The results showed associations between the coronavirus pandemic and increased psychosomatic symptoms and negative emotions. We further found higher risks of increased health complaints in younger people and women. It is also possible that there is higher risk of increased health complaints for respondents with secondary school education, students, and highly spiritual people, but this relationship has to be further investigated. In contrast, respondents with their highest achieved education level being secondary school graduation had a lower risk of increased frequency of stomach-ache. We also found that more negative emotions could increase the frequency of health complaints. Our findings suggest that the coronavirus pandemic and associated government measures could have a significant influence on the prevalence of health complaints and emotional state. Full article
Article
Perception of Risk, Self-Efficacy and Social Trust during the Diffusion of Covid-19 in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3427; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073427 - 25 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1278
Abstract
The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the lives of people all over the world. The perception of risk and people’s consequent behaviour during a pandemic are very complex and are affected by multiple cultural and psychological factors. The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the lives of people all over the world. The perception of risk and people’s consequent behaviour during a pandemic are very complex and are affected by multiple cultural and psychological factors. The aim of this study was to investigate the change in risk perception, perceived self-efficacy and the perceived trust in the behaviour of others, the decisions of health authorities and government provisions, as well as the variation of self-restraint behaviours during the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy. We used a convenience sample of 707 university students (Mage = 22.99; SD = 4.01) from a central area of Italy. Participants freely joined the research by answering an online questionnaire between February and March 2020. Three time intervals defined by the progressive containment measures implemented by the Italian Government were considered. Main outcome measures were the Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale, the Risk Perception Index, the Index of Self-restraint Behaviours, and Institutional and Interpersonal Trust Measures. Results confirmed that significant changes in the time progression have occurred in the perception of risk, in the perception of individual self-efficacy, in the value attributed to social responsibility, in interpersonal trust and in trust in health authorities. The study also identified the participants’ personality traits and locus of control as predictors (positive and negative) of perceived self-efficacy and tested a mediation model of trust on the effect of risk perception on self-restraint intentions. Full article
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Article
An Interaction Path of Mothers’ and Preschoolers’ Food- and Physical Activity-Related Aspects in Disadvantaged Sicilian Urban Areas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 2875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18062875 - 11 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1044
Abstract
Background: The relationship between mothers and their children’s lifestyle is still unclear, especially in disadvantaged areas. Consequently, the study aims to identify a path explaining the extent to which maternal eating habits and physical activity (PA) level predict food-related aspects, PA practice [...] Read more.
Background: The relationship between mothers and their children’s lifestyle is still unclear, especially in disadvantaged areas. Consequently, the study aims to identify a path explaining the extent to which maternal eating habits and physical activity (PA) level predict food-related aspects, PA practice and Quotient of Gross Motor Development (QGMD) in preschoolers from disadvantaged urban areas. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a total of 79 dyads of mothers and children were recruited from kindergartens. Information related to family socio-demographic aspects, mothers’ and children’s dietary intake frequencies and PA/sedentariness, mothers’ weight and height, mothers’ perception on children’s food intake, and children’s food literacy (FL) was collected with a questionnaire and the Food Literacy Assessment Tool (preschool-FLAT), while gross-motor skills were measured with the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD); weight and height of children were directly collected. Results: Associations were found between mothers’ and children’s food habits; mothers’ and children’s fruit/vegetables consumption, and intake of the other items; mothers’ education or PA level and children’s FL; mothers’ PA or sedentariness and children’s QGMD; mothers’ BMI and food habits and children’s BMI; education and food habits. Conclusions: These findings can be useful to plan effective interventions targeted both to preschoolers and their mothers of disadvantaged urban areas for promoting healthy lifestyles, which have become increasingly difficult to achieve during COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
Quality of Life Prior and in the Course of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study with Brazilian Dietitians
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2712; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052712 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1050
Abstract
Dietitians as healthcare professionals could decrease their quality of life during the SARS-COV-2 pandemic period; therefore, this study aimed to compare Brazilian dietitians’ perceptions of quality of life before and during the pandemic. This nationwide cross-sectional research aimed to evaluate Brazilian dietitians’ quality [...] Read more.
Dietitians as healthcare professionals could decrease their quality of life during the SARS-COV-2 pandemic period; therefore, this study aimed to compare Brazilian dietitians’ perceptions of quality of life before and during the pandemic. This nationwide cross-sectional research aimed to evaluate Brazilian dietitians’ quality of life before and in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, using a previously validated self-administered instrument WHO-QOL-BREF in Brazilian-Portuguese. The questionnaire was composed of 26 items (four domains) to evaluate life quality (physical, psychological, social relationship, and environment). The questionnaire also presented some sociodemographic variables and three questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. It was applied using GoogleForms® platform (Google LLC, Mountain View, CA, USA). For the statistical analysis of data, Paired T-test, Chi-squared test, and Analysis of Variance were used. A total of 1290 Brazilian dietitians replied to the instrument. Comparing quality of life (QoL) before SARS-COV-2 (3.83 ± 0.59) and during the pandemic (3.36 ± 0.66), data was statistically different. Comparing prior and in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, all variables and domains presented statistical differences (better before the pandemic period). Among Brazilian dietitians, the psychological health domain was the most affected. The Sars-Cov-2 pandemic negatively impacted the QoL of Brazilian dietitians since health professionals face changes in their lives because of work. Full article
Article
Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Job Activity, Dietary Behaviours and Physical Activity Habits of University Population of Naples, Federico II-Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1502; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041502 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2649
Abstract
Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause mild to moderate illness. The new variant COVID-19 has started to spread rapidly since December 2019, posing a new threat to global health. To counter the spread of the virus, the [...] Read more.
Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause mild to moderate illness. The new variant COVID-19 has started to spread rapidly since December 2019, posing a new threat to global health. To counter the spread of the virus, the Italian government forced the population to close all activities starting from 9 March 2020 to 4 May 2020. In this scenario, we conducted a cross-sectional study on a heterogeneous sample (average age of 28 ± 12 years, 62.6% females) of the University of Naples Federico II (Italy). The aim of the study was to describe the lifestyle change in the university population during quarantine for the COVID 19 pandemic. Participants compiled an online survey consisting of 3 sections: socio-demographic data, dietary behaviours, physical activity habits and psychological aspects. The different results by gender are: 90.8% of females continued to work from home (81.9% were students); 34.8% increased their physical activity; and, only 0.8% prefer ready meals. Whereas, the same percentage of men continued to work from home (90%), but only 72.1% were students (p < 0.001 vs. females), only 23.9% increased physical activity (p < 0.001) and 1.7% favous ready meals. Our data shows that the male population was more affected by isolation and quarantine reporting more unfavourable behavioural changes. Full article
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Article
The Role of Coping in the Wellbeing and Work-Related Quality of Life of UK Health and Social Care Workers during COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 815; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020815 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3524
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared a global pandemic in early 2020. Due to the rapid spread of the virus and limited availability of effective treatments, health and social care systems worldwide quickly became overwhelmed. Such stressful circumstances are likely to have [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared a global pandemic in early 2020. Due to the rapid spread of the virus and limited availability of effective treatments, health and social care systems worldwide quickly became overwhelmed. Such stressful circumstances are likely to have negative impacts on health and social care workers’ wellbeing. The current study examined the relationship between coping strategies and wellbeing and quality of working life in nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, social care workers and social workers who worked in health and social care in the UK during its first wave of COVID-19. Data were collected using an anonymous online survey (N = 3425), and regression analyses were used to examine the associations of coping strategies and demographic characteristics with staff wellbeing and quality of working life. The results showed that positive coping strategies, particularly active coping and help-seeking, were associated with higher wellbeing and better quality of working life. Negative coping strategies, such as avoidance, were risk factors for low wellbeing and worse quality of working life. The results point to the importance of organizational and management support during stressful times, which could include psycho-education and training about active coping and might take the form of workshops designed to equip staff with better coping skills. Full article

Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Interventions to Support Mental Health among Those with Health Conditions That Present Risk for Severe Infection from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A Scoping Review of English and Chinese-Language Literature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7265; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147265 - 07 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1555
Abstract
This study aimed to address knowledge gaps related to the prevention and management of mental health responses among those with a condition that presents risk of severe COVID-19 infection. A scoping review that mapped English and Chinese-language studies (2019–2020) located in MEDLINE (Ovid), [...] Read more.
This study aimed to address knowledge gaps related to the prevention and management of mental health responses among those with a condition that presents risk of severe COVID-19 infection. A scoping review that mapped English and Chinese-language studies (2019–2020) located in MEDLINE (Ovid), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycInfo, Sociological Abstracts, Embase, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Wanfang Data, and Airiti Library was undertaken. Search terms related to COVID-19, mental health, and physical health were used and articles that included all three of these factors were extracted (n = 77). With the exception of one hospital-based pilot study, there were no intervention studies targeting mental health in those at risk of severe COVID-19 infection. Promising practices such as integrated care models that appropriately screen for mental health issues, address health determinants, and include use of digital resources were highlighted. Patient navigator programs, group online medical visits, peer support, and social prescribing may also support those with complex needs. Future policies need to address digital health access inequities and the implementation of multi-integrated health and social care. Furthermore, research is needed to comprehensively assess multi-integrated interventions that are resilient to public health crises. Full article
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Review
COVID-19 in Dental Settings: Novel Risk Assessment Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6093; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18116093 - 05 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1385
Abstract
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern, and this emergency led to postponing elective dental care procedures. The postponing aimed to protect the public from an unknown risk caused by COVID-19. At the beginning of the outbreak, [...] Read more.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern, and this emergency led to postponing elective dental care procedures. The postponing aimed to protect the public from an unknown risk caused by COVID-19. At the beginning of the outbreak, for public health authorities, the aerosol-generating procedures and the close proximity between dental care workers and patients in dentistry represented sufficient justification for the delay of dental visits. Dental care is a priority, and for many years, studies have proven that the lack and delay of dental care can cause severe consequences for the oral health of the general population, which can cause a high global burden of oral diseases. Safety is necessary while resuming dental activities, and risk assessment is an efficient method for understanding and preventing the COVID-19 infectious threats facing the dental industry and affecting dental care workers and patients. In this study, for safe dental care delivery, we adapted risk assessment criteria and an approach and an occupational classification system. Based on those tools, we also recommend measures that can help to minimize infectious risk in dental settings. Full article
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