Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology during COVID-19

A special issue of Journal of Clinical Medicine (ISSN 2077-0383). This special issue belongs to the section "Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 October 2023) | Viewed by 9803

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
2. Clinical Psychology Unit, University Hospital "Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino", Torino, Italy
Interests: clinical psychology; psychological interventions; psychotherapy; EMDR therapy; mindfulness; psychological trauma; PTSD; depression; compassion; doctor-patient communication

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past two years, we have all been dealing with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and have observed the disruptive impact that the pandemic and related containment measures have had on people's psychological health. The COVID-19 pandemic has also profoundly changed the work of clinical psychologists. The need for psychological care has increased, and at the same time, the way psychological treatments are delivered has changed due to quarantine and physical distancing measures imposed by governments to reduce the spread of the virus, resulting in an increase in the use of online psychological services and telepsychotherapy.

All these changes call for a better understanding of the effects of the pandemic on mental health and the associated risk and protective factors in different populations, including those with pre-existing vulnerabilities and/or those most exposed to the pandemic’s implications (such as, but not limited to: adolescents and young adults, healthcare workers, individuals who lost a family member due to COVID-19, patients with a chronic disease).

Moreover, it is crucial to deepen the understanding of new ways of delivering psychological interventions (development of novel psychological interventions or adaptation of psychological interventions/therapies to the online context) and evaluate the effects of psychological treatments aimed at mitigating the mental-health consequences of the pandemic’s impact to provide high-quality psychological care during these altered life circumstances.

In this Special Issue, both observational and interventional studies, as well as review papers (systematic review and meta-analysis), on the implications of the pandemic and related restrictions on psychological well-being, associated risk and protective factors, and changes in clinical practice and psychotherapy delivery are welcome.

Dr. Sara Carletto
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • mental health
  • psychological distress
  • psychological interventions
  • online psychological interventions 
  • telepsychotherapy

Published Papers (6 papers)

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12 pages, 323 KiB  
Article
Burnout and Professional Engagement during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Nursing Students without Clinical Experience: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Gustavo R. Cañadas, María José Membrive-Jiménez, María Begoña Martos-Cabrera, Luis Albendín-García, Almudena Velando-Soriano, Guillermo A. Cañadas-De la Fuente and Emilia Inmaculada De la Fuente-Solana
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(15), 5144; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12155144 - 06 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1273
Abstract
Burnout affects many healthcare professionals, especially nurses, causing serious health problems and disrupting the work environment. Academic burnout may also be experienced, leading students to feel unable to cope with their education. As a result, they may lose interest and even consider abandoning [...] Read more.
Burnout affects many healthcare professionals, especially nurses, causing serious health problems and disrupting the work environment. Academic burnout may also be experienced, leading students to feel unable to cope with their education. As a result, they may lose interest and even consider abandoning their studies. Hence, burnout syndrome can affect both the mental health and the professional future of those affected. To evaluate academic burnout in nursing students who had no clinical experience before starting their practical training, a cross-sectional study involving 212 third-year nursing students at the University of Granada was conducted. Data were collected using the Granada Burnout Questionnaire, the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, the NEO Five-Factor Inventory, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Fear of CoronaVirus-19 Scale. High levels of burnout were present in 37.8% of the students. Moreover, 21.5% and 8.7% had borderline cases of anxiety or depression, respectively. Another 30.8% and 9.2%, respectively, were considered likely to present these conditions. According to the predictive models of burnout dimensions obtained, neuroticism is a predictor of all three burnout dimensions. Furthermore, anxiety, depression, extraversion, responsibility and engagement are predictors of some dimensions of the syndrome. Many nursing students present high levels of burnout, which is related to certain personality variables and to the presence of anxiety and/or depression. The level of professional engagement is inversely associated with the impact of burnout. The participants in this study have normalised their return to the pre-pandemic study routine (in-person classes), and fear of COVID-19 was not a significant predictor of any dimension of burnout. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology during COVID-19)
16 pages, 529 KiB  
Article
Mental Health among Italian Children and Adolescents during and after the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: A Professionals’ Focus Group Study
by Maria Luisa Scattoni, Martina Micai, Angela Caruso, Letizia Gila, Francesca Fulceri, Giulia Galati, Maria Antonella Costantino, Massimo Molteni, Paolo Petralia, Marcello Lanari, Cristiana Corinaldesi and Carla Garlatti
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(13), 4270; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12134270 - 26 Jun 2023
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Abstract
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic had a negative impact on the mental health of children and adolescents. Eight focus groups and six individual hearings were conducted to gain insights from the perspectives of 97 Italian professionals from a variety of disciplines, including child and adolescent [...] Read more.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic had a negative impact on the mental health of children and adolescents. Eight focus groups and six individual hearings were conducted to gain insights from the perspectives of 97 Italian professionals from a variety of disciplines, including child and adolescent neuropsychiatrists, pediatricians, general practitioners, social workers, psychologists, teachers, school deans, non-governmental organizations, and a researcher. Urban and rural settings were represented. The present research has been promoted by the Italian Independent Authority for Children and Adolescents (Autorità Garante per l’Infanzia e l’Adolescenza, AGIA) in collaboration with the National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, ISS) and the Ministry of Education and its scientific value has been supervised by a Scientific Committee. The results of the focus groups’ discussions revealed increased vulnerability, with the onset of new mental health disorders in healthy individuals and those in a condition of disadvantage, migratory contexts, and with disabilities. The already critical pre-pandemic structural and operational issues of existing services have been exacerbated. In healthcare, the activation of telemedicine has been a great asset but at the same time has generated challenges and critical issues that are still unresolved. Professionals emphasized the need to pay special attention to planning integrated responses aimed at overcoming inequalities and fragmentation. The result of this initiative translates into a set of operational recommendations useful for guiding investments and policies directed toward the protection of the mental health of minors in the health, educational, and social spheres from the outset. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology during COVID-19)
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14 pages, 744 KiB  
Article
Mental Health of Children and Adolescents before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Did the Lockdown Modify Psychiatric Emergencies in Tuscany, Italy?
by Simone Tavano, Saverio Caini, Idanna Sforzi, Caterina Silvestri, Fabio Voller and Tiziana Pisano
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(12), 4154; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12124154 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1266
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted several aspects of the lives of children and adolescents. We analyzed the trends of psychiatric disorders in the emergency room. The analysis comprised the pre-pandemic (2018–2019) and the pandemic years (2020–2021). We conducted a retrospective observational epidemiological [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted several aspects of the lives of children and adolescents. We analyzed the trends of psychiatric disorders in the emergency room. The analysis comprised the pre-pandemic (2018–2019) and the pandemic years (2020–2021). We conducted a retrospective observational epidemiological study that compared admissions during the two periods on a sample of 1311 patients aged between 4 and 18, focusing on new admissions vs. relapse, demographic variables, lockdown severity, presentation of psychiatric symptoms, diagnosis, severity, and outcome. Over the two-year pandemic period, we observed a 33% decrease in admissions to the emergency room for non-psychiatric disorders and a 200% increase in admissions for psychiatric emergencies. This increase is concentrated in periods with fewer restrictions and in the second year of the pandemic. We also observed a greater impact of psychiatric disorders on female patients, a greater severity of psychiatric disorders, a change in diagnoses associated with the presentation of symptoms, and an increase in hospitalizations. The children’s psychiatric emergency service faced an “emergency within the emergency”. In the future, it will be necessary to continue the follow-up of these patients, strengthen the field of study of gender psychiatry, and intensify our efforts towards prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology during COVID-19)
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10 pages, 968 KiB  
Article
The Burden of Survivorship: Survivor Guilt and Its Association with Psychiatric Sequelae in COVID-19 Patients
by Mariagrazia Palladini, Mario Gennaro Mazza, Andrea Scalabrini, Patrizia Rovere Querini, Sara Poletti and Francesco Benedetti
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(9), 3117; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12093117 - 25 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
COVID-19 survivors struggle with intense depressive and post-traumatic symptoms in sub-acute stages. Survivor guilt may affect post-acute psychopathology. Herein, we aim to unveil the potential affective mechanism underpinning post-COVID psychiatric implications by focusing on the association of survivor guilt with psychopathology and maladaptive [...] Read more.
COVID-19 survivors struggle with intense depressive and post-traumatic symptoms in sub-acute stages. Survivor guilt may affect post-acute psychopathology. Herein, we aim to unveil the potential affective mechanism underpinning post-COVID psychiatric implications by focusing on the association of survivor guilt with psychopathology and maladaptive attributional style. At one month after discharge, we evaluated symptoms of depression on The Zung Severity Rating Scale (ZSDS), post-traumatic distress on Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), and sleep disturbances on the Women’s Health Initiative Insomnia Rating Scale (WHIIRS) in 195 COVID-19 survivors. Interpersonal Guilt Rating Scale (IGRS-15) rated survivor guilt. A discrepancy score between the burden of depression and post-traumatic distress symptoms was computed individually. Dysfunctional depressive attributions were assessed through the Cognition Questionnaire (CQ). Survivor guilt significantly predicts all evaluated psychopathological dimensions. Moreover, higher rates of survivor guilt were associated with an overlap between post-traumatic and depressive symptomatology, thus suggesting that survivor guilt equally sustains both psychiatric manifestations. Finally, survivor guilt fully mediated the relationship between dysfunctional depressive attributions and the discrepancy index. Our results confirm survivor guilt as a clinically relevant form of suffering related to psychopathological dimensions of post COVID-19 infection, gaining the status of a specific phenomenon and a promising treatment target. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology during COVID-19)
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15 pages, 290 KiB  
Article
The Consequences of the Pandemic on Medical Students’ Depressive Symptoms and Perceived Stress: A Repeated Cross-Sectional Survey with a Nested Longitudinal Subsample
by Giuseppina Lo Moro, Sara Carletto, Vittoria Zuccaroli Lavista, Giovanna Soro, Fabrizio Bert, Roberta Siliquini and Paolo Leombruni
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(19), 5896; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11195896 - 06 Oct 2022
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Abstract
This study aimed to explore the impact of the pandemic on medical students’ mental health in Italy using a repeated cross-sectional survey with a nested longitudinal subsample (first timepoint: 2018; second: 2020/2021). Three research questions (RQs) were investigated. Study 1 (longitudinal sub-sample) explored [...] Read more.
This study aimed to explore the impact of the pandemic on medical students’ mental health in Italy using a repeated cross-sectional survey with a nested longitudinal subsample (first timepoint: 2018; second: 2020/2021). Three research questions (RQs) were investigated. Study 1 (longitudinal sub-sample) explored whether medical students had higher levels of depressive symptoms and stress during the pandemic compared with a pre-pandemic period (RQ1) and what variables were associated with these conditions during the pandemic adjusting for baseline levels (RQ2). Study 2 (repeated cross-sectional data) aimed to examine whether medical students had higher levels of these conditions during the pandemic compared with their same-year peers during a pre-pandemic period (RQ3). In Study 1, higher levels of depressive symptoms and stress were shown during the pandemic (RQ1). Multivariable models highlighted associations between poor mental health and worsening of the judgment of medical school choice, worsened psychological condition due to the pandemic, economic repercussions due to the pandemic, and baseline levels of symptoms (RQ2). In Study 2, our findings reported higher levels of depressive symptoms and stress during the pandemic, also adjusting for other variables (RQ3). In conclusion, depressive symptoms and stress were greater during the pandemic. The most relevant variables were pandemic-related items and medical school choice judgment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology during COVID-19)

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15 pages, 1381 KiB  
Systematic Review
A Clinical Psychological View about Delusional Characterizations in Subjects with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder during the COVID-19 Period
by Marilena Maglia, Maria Salvina Signorelli, Antonino Petralia, Idria Verduzzo, Concerto Carmen, Alessandro Rodolico, Jennifer Di Piazza and Pasquale Caponnetto
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(7), 2698; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12072698 - 04 Apr 2023
Viewed by 2183
Abstract
(Background) The period experienced during the COVID-19 virus and the respective social regulations associated with it caused enormous psychosocial stress. (Objective) The objective of the present work was to observe whether the lived period induced a change in delusional characterizations in subjects with [...] Read more.
(Background) The period experienced during the COVID-19 virus and the respective social regulations associated with it caused enormous psychosocial stress. (Objective) The objective of the present work was to observe whether the lived period induced a change in delusional characterizations in subjects with schizophrenia spectrum disorder. (Methods) A systematic literature review was conducted following the PRISMA 2020 guidelines for systematic reviews of the PRISMA GROUP. The literature search was conducted from November 2021 to May 2022, using various scientific platforms including PubMed. (Results) A total of 865 articles were found, from which 176 duplicates were removed. The remaining articles were reviewed by reading the titles and abstracts; fourteen were included. (Conclusions) During this research, it was possible to confirm the initial thesis, namely that delirium absorbs external reality by being modified by it. It was observed that the speed of absorption is estimated to be directly proportional to the speed of the modification of social reality and to the impact that the latter has on the subject’s private sphere. Moreover, the situation of radical change represented a condition of abnormal psychosocial stress, which led to an increase in diagnoses of schizophrenia spectrum disorders and, specifically, a weighty increase in diagnoses of brief psychotic disorder (BDP). In the coming years, it is estimated that there will be an increase in diagnoses of schizophrenia spectrum disorder caused by both environmental and biological factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology during COVID-19)
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