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Protective and Risk Factors of Mental Health and Well-Being in Adolescence and Adulthood during Pandemic Era

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: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 10016

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Educational Sciences, Psychology, Communication, University of Bari, 70121 Bari, Italy
Interests: health promotion; mental health and addiction; psychometric measurement; active ageing

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Guest Editor
Department of Humanities, University of Foggia, 71100 Foggia, Italy
Interests: assessment; health promotion; mental health and addiction
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As social, emotional, and mental well-being have been impacted by the coronavirus, either directly or indirectly, the following effects should be taken into account:

  • Changes in life styles: Physical and social distance from family (parents and elderly parents), friends, colleagues, community, loneliness and isolation, temporary unemployment;
  • Disruptions in education systems: Virtual learning environments, technology issues, lower levels of knowledge acquiring;
  • Breaks in continuity of health care: Limited access to public health services;
  • Psychological disorders: Fear/worry of contracting the virus, increased aggression, violence, behavioural and substance addiction, uncertainty for the future, helplessness, false hope, and hopelessness.

These reasons are why it is so important to increase the knowledge dealing with the influence of the COVID-19 outbreak on individuals, how they have experienced emotional distress, and how they have coped with perceived or real threats. Hence, this Special Issue calls for papers that conceptually and/or empirically examine the risk factors impacting well-being and mental health under an umbrella including the various psychological facets.

Prof. Dr. Maria Sinatra
Prof. Dr. Lucia Monacis
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 monthly 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

  • psychological disorders
  • changed lifestyles
  • new educational realities
  • resilience
  • uncertain future
  • hopelessness
  • behavioural and substance addiction
  • violence

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 694 KiB  
Article
Adolescent Victimization during COVID-19 Lockdowns and Its Influence on Mental Health Problems in Seven Countries: The Mediation Effect of Resilience
by Mónica Bravo-Sanzana, Rafael Miranda and Xavier Oriol
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 1958; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031958 - 20 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1792
Abstract
The objective of this study was to test the differences between the mean scores of victimization, an indicator of depression, stress, and anxiety (DASS), across seven countries (Australia, Chile, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, and the Russian Federation) during the COVID-19 lockdowns. In addition, [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to test the differences between the mean scores of victimization, an indicator of depression, stress, and anxiety (DASS), across seven countries (Australia, Chile, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, and the Russian Federation) during the COVID-19 lockdowns. In addition, this study sought to analyze the mediator role of resilience in these relationships in the different countries. To this end, a structural equation model (SEM) was tested and differences across countries were considered through a multigroup analysis. Data for adolescent students from seven countries (n = 7241) collected by the Global Research Alliance showed that levels of anxiety, depression, and stress among adolescents were different in the countries assessed; all of them presented values above the mean of the indicator, with Chile and Russia having the highest values. Regarding the prevalence of exposure to violence, the mean across all countries studied was 34%, with the highest prevalence in Russia and India. At the global level, an adequate adjustment was observed in the SEM mediation model considering all countries. However, a mediator effect of resilience was only observed in the relationship between victimization and the indicator of DASS in Chile, Indonesia, and Russia. The results are discussed, analyzing the relevance of resilience as a protective factor for mental health during COVID-19 lockdowns. Full article
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7 pages, 304 KiB  
Article
College Students’ Reduced Cognitive Empathy and Increased Anxiety and Depression before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Janelle S. Peifer and Gita Taasoobshirazi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(18), 11330; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811330 - 9 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1897
Abstract
This study explored college students’ individual mental health (i.e., anxious and depressive symptoms, intrapersonal identity, and ethnic identity), as well as interpersonal mental health, as assessed by their affective connection to and care for others (i.e., cognitive empathy), exploring the role of culture [...] Read more.
This study explored college students’ individual mental health (i.e., anxious and depressive symptoms, intrapersonal identity, and ethnic identity), as well as interpersonal mental health, as assessed by their affective connection to and care for others (i.e., cognitive empathy), exploring the role of culture and identity during the twin COVID-19 and racial justice pandemics of 2020. Comparing a longitudinal cohort of 147 undergraduate students’ experiences prior to the pandemic (Spring 2019) and after the onset of the pandemic (Spring 2021), the study examines students’ mental health changes amidst the multi-layered challenges of this time. A repeated measures Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) revealed heightened anxiety and depression scores from pre-pandemic to during the pandemic and a reduction in cognitive empathy as expressed through perspective taking and empathic concern. The study begins to examine the implications of these findings in the COVID-19 era with a focus on young adult mental health, higher education, empathy, and community-mindedness. Full article
13 pages, 351 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Buffering Effects of Greenery on the Adverse Emotional, Mental and Behavioral Health during the Pandemic Period
by Paolo Contini, Santo Di Nuovo, Maria Sinatra, Elisabeta Osmanaj and Lucia Monacis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8749; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148749 - 18 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1497
Abstract
In light of the adverse emotional, mental and behavioral outcomes caused by the pandemic period, this research analyzed the associations between emotional distress and poor health outcomes and the buffering effects of greenery on these outcomes. An online cross-sectional survey between June–November 2021 [...] Read more.
In light of the adverse emotional, mental and behavioral outcomes caused by the pandemic period, this research analyzed the associations between emotional distress and poor health outcomes and the buffering effects of greenery on these outcomes. An online cross-sectional survey between June–November 2021 was distributed among 1314 young Italian adults. Bivariate associations and multivariate regression analyses were applied to the data. Findings showed that emotional distress was positively related to poor mental health outcomes and to some of the unhealthy behaviors. In addition, green pathways differently impacted on health: the indoor features confirmed buffering effects on adverse emotional and mental health responses, whereas the outdoor features played no salutogenic role. In conclusion, whereas the outbreak period of the pandemic has led to the rediscovering/reinforcement of the attachment to nature to cope with negative affective states, the successive waves characterized by selected limitations and new living rules of social adaptation may have brought about a reduced affinity toward nature. Target interventions in terms of biophilic design for indoor environmental sustainability are needed in order to increase the innate human–nature connection and thus to promote public health. Full article
8 pages, 334 KiB  
Article
Empathy through the Pandemic: Changes of Different Emphatic Dimensions during the COVID-19 Outbreak
by Chiara Baiano, Gennaro Raimo, Isa Zappullo, Marialaura Marra, Roberta Cecere, Luigi Trojano and Massimiliano Conson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2435; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042435 - 20 Feb 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3818
Abstract
Growing evidence suggests that empathy is a relevant psychological trait to face the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but at the present very little is known on whether this multi-dimensional construct has been affected by the pandemic outbreak differently in its separate [...] Read more.
Growing evidence suggests that empathy is a relevant psychological trait to face the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but at the present very little is known on whether this multi-dimensional construct has been affected by the pandemic outbreak differently in its separate components. Here, we aimed at filling this gap by capitalizing on the opportunity of having collected data from different self-report measures and cognitive tasks assessing the main dimensions of empathy immediately before the beginning of the global pandemic and about one year later. The results showed a detrimental impact of the pandemic outbreak on empathic social skills but not on both cognitive (perspective-taking) and emotional empathy that instead significantly improved. Thus, reduced empathic social skills could be a weakness to be targeted in psychological interventions to help people cope with the mental health challenges related to COVID-19 pandemic, whereas the ability of understanding another’s mental states and emotions could represent a strength in dealing with the current long-lasting crisis. Full article
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