Early Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil: A National Survey

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Background: Isolation measures used to contain epidemics generate social interaction restrictions and impose changes in routines of the public that increase negative psychological outcomes. Anxiety and depression are the most common symptoms. Objective: To evaluate the mental health of the Brazilian population during the SARs-CoV-2 pandemic and its relationship with demographic and health characteristics. Methods: Adults from all Brazilian States participated (n = 12,196; women: 69.8%, mean age = 35.2 years). The Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale, and the Impact of Event Scale-revised were used (online survey). Data validity and reliability were verified by confirmatory factor analysis and ordinal alpha coefficient. The probability of presenting psychological symptoms was calculated by multiple logistic regression and odds ratio (OR) (0 = without symptoms, 1 = with mild, moderate, and severe levels of symptoms). Results: High prevalence of depression (61.3%), anxiety (44.2%), stress (50.8%), and psychological impact (54.9%) due to the isolation experienced from the pandemic was found. Younger individuals (OR = 1.58-3.58), those that felt unsafe (OR = 1.75-2.92), with a previous diagnosis of mental health (OR = 1.72-2.64) and/or had general health problems before the pandemic (OR = 1.17-1.51), who noticed changes in their mental state due to the pandemic context (OR = 2.53-9.07), and excessively exposed to the news (OR = 1.19-2.18) were at increased risk of developing symptoms. Women (OR = 1.35-1.65) and those with lower economic status (OR = 1.38-2.69) were more likely to develop psychological symptoms. Lower educational levels increased the likelihood of depressive (OR = 1.03-1.34) and intrusive symptoms (OR = 1.09-1.51). Conclusions: The pandemic and related factors can have a high impact on the mental health of the population. Demographic characteristics can influence the occurrence of psychological symptoms.




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Journal Of Clinical Medicine. Basel: Mdpi, v. 9, n. 9, 14 p., 2020.

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