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Psychological Impact During an Epidemic: Data from Italy's First Outbreak of COVID-19
25 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020More...
Background: Italy's first outbreak of COVID-19 was confirmed on 21 st February 2020; this virus has quickly become a global pandemic, causing a health emergency at the global level which is an unprecedented event in the modern era. The current study was conducted to gain complementary data to assess the immediate impact of coronavirus on the social and emotional health and well-being of those affected.
Methods: Ad hoc questionnaire was designed for online completion to expedite data gathering during the coronavirus outbreak. People were invited to take part in the study via social media and email from 4, until 18 March 2020. The full survey comprised of 21 questions, covering a wide range of factors such as demographic, disease knowledge, psychological impact, daily life activity, and psychological precaution measure. The main outcome measure reported is the psychological impact measured as intensity and prevalence of anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, and concern during the coronavirus epidemic.
Findings: In total, 10,025 respondents completed the online survey, and of these about 73% were female. 100% of the sample had good knowledge of the disease. The greatest prevalence of high psychological impact was reported in the <34 age group and in North Italy. Additionally, the psychological impact of the infection influences important daily life activities such as sexuality and nutrition.
Interpretation: This study suggests that the psychological impact of an epidemic is wide-ranging, substantial, and can be long lasting. However, the issue of enduring psychological distress will require further research.
Funding Statement: None
Declaration of Interests: All authors declare that they have no conflict interests.
Ethics Approval Statement: Ethics approval for the study was obtained through the local ethics committee.
Keywords: COVID-19; Psychology impact; Sexuality; Anxiety; Psychological Distress; Italian Outbreak
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation