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Psychological Impact During an Epidemic: Data from Italy's First Outbreak of COVID-19

25 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020

See all articles by Roberta Ferrucci

Roberta Ferrucci

University of Milan - Aldo Ravelli Center for Experimental Brain Therapeutics and Clinical Neurology Unit; Università degli Studi di Milano - III Clinica Neurologica

Daniela Marino

ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo

Maria Rita Reitano

Università degli Studi di Milano - III Clinica Neurologica

Fabiana Ruggiero

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico - U.O. di Neurofisiopatologia

Francesca Mameli

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico - U.O. di Neurofisiopatologia

Barbara Poletti

University of Milan - Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychology Service

Gabriella Pravettoni

University of Milan, Faculty of Medicine, Oncology and Hemato-Oncology Department ; IEO Istituto Europeo di Oncologia IRCCS - Psycho-Oncology Division

Sergio Barbieri

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico - U.O. di Neurofisiopatologia

Alberto Priori

University of Milan - Aldo Ravelli Center for Experimental Brain Therapeutics and Clinical Neurology Unit; Università degli Studi di Milano - III Clinica Neurologica

Alberto Averna

University of Milan - Aldo Ravelli Center for Experimental Brain Therapeutics and Clinical Neurology Unit

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Abstract

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

Ferrucci, Roberta and Marino, Daniela and Reitano, Maria Rita and Ruggiero, Fabiana and Mameli, Francesca and Poletti, Barbara and Pravettoni, Gabriella and Barbieri, Sergio and Priori, Alberto and Averna, Alberto, Psychological Impact During an Epidemic: Data from Italy's First Outbreak of COVID-19 (4/11/2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3576930 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3576930

Roberta Ferrucci (Contact Author)

University of Milan - Aldo Ravelli Center for Experimental Brain Therapeutics and Clinical Neurology Unit ( email )

Milan
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano - III Clinica Neurologica ( email )

Milano
Italy

Daniela Marino

ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo

Piazzale Giovanni delle Bande Nere, 3
Milano, 20146
Italy

Maria Rita Reitano

Università degli Studi di Milano - III Clinica Neurologica

Milano
Italy

Fabiana Ruggiero

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico - U.O. di Neurofisiopatologia

Milano
Italy

Francesca Mameli

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico - U.O. di Neurofisiopatologia

Milano
Italy

Barbara Poletti

University of Milan - Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychology Service

Milano
Italy

Gabriella Pravettoni

University of Milan, Faculty of Medicine, Oncology and Hemato-Oncology Department

Italy

IEO Istituto Europeo di Oncologia IRCCS - Psycho-Oncology Division

Milano
Italy

Sergio Barbieri

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico - U.O. di Neurofisiopatologia

Milano
Italy

Alberto Priori

University of Milan - Aldo Ravelli Center for Experimental Brain Therapeutics and Clinical Neurology Unit ( email )

Milan
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano - III Clinica Neurologica ( email )

Milano
Italy

Alberto Averna

University of Milan - Aldo Ravelli Center for Experimental Brain Therapeutics and Clinical Neurology Unit

Milan
Italy

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