Background: The mental health of the Italian population declined at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, nationwide population prevalence estimates may not effectively reproduce the heterogeneity in distress responses to the pandemic. In particular, contextual determinants specific to COVID-19 pandemic need to be considered. We thus aimed to explore the association between local COVID-19 mortality rates and mental health response among the general population. Methods: We capitalised on data (N = 17,628) from a large, cross-sectional, national survey, the COMET study, run between March and May 2020. While psychological distress was measured by General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 Items (DASS-21) was used to assess relevant domains. In addition, a Covid-19 mortality ratio was built to compare single regional mortality rates to the national estimate and official statistics were used to control for other area-level determinants. Results: Adjusted ordered regression analyses showed an association between mortality ratio and moderate (OR = 1.10, 95%CI 1.03-1.18) and severe (OR = 1.11, 95%CI 1.03-1.21) DASS-21 anxiety levels. No effects of mortality ratio on GHQ-12 scores and DASS-21 depression and stress levels, uniformly high across the country, were estimated. Conclusions: Although we could not find any association between regional COVID-19 mortality ratio and depression or psychological distress, anxiety levels were significantly increased among subjects from areas with the highest mortality rates. Local mortality rate seems a meaningful driver for anxiety among the general population. Considering the potentially long-lasting scenario, local public health authorities should provide neighbouring communities with preventive interventions reducing psychological isolation and anxiety levels.

Were anxiety, depression and psychological distress associated with local mortality rates during COVID-19 outbreak in Italy? Findings from the COMET study

Albert, Umberto;
2022

Abstract

Background: The mental health of the Italian population declined at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, nationwide population prevalence estimates may not effectively reproduce the heterogeneity in distress responses to the pandemic. In particular, contextual determinants specific to COVID-19 pandemic need to be considered. We thus aimed to explore the association between local COVID-19 mortality rates and mental health response among the general population. Methods: We capitalised on data (N = 17,628) from a large, cross-sectional, national survey, the COMET study, run between March and May 2020. While psychological distress was measured by General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 Items (DASS-21) was used to assess relevant domains. In addition, a Covid-19 mortality ratio was built to compare single regional mortality rates to the national estimate and official statistics were used to control for other area-level determinants. Results: Adjusted ordered regression analyses showed an association between mortality ratio and moderate (OR = 1.10, 95%CI 1.03-1.18) and severe (OR = 1.11, 95%CI 1.03-1.21) DASS-21 anxiety levels. No effects of mortality ratio on GHQ-12 scores and DASS-21 depression and stress levels, uniformly high across the country, were estimated. Conclusions: Although we could not find any association between regional COVID-19 mortality ratio and depression or psychological distress, anxiety levels were significantly increased among subjects from areas with the highest mortality rates. Local mortality rate seems a meaningful driver for anxiety among the general population. Considering the potentially long-lasting scenario, local public health authorities should provide neighbouring communities with preventive interventions reducing psychological isolation and anxiety levels.
Pubblicato
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022395622003235
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Were anxiety, depression and psychological distress associated with local mortality rates during COVID-19 outbreak in Italy? Findings from the COMET study.pdf

non disponibili

Descrizione: Per tutta la durata dell'emergenza COVID-19 l'articolo è liberamente accessibile dal sito dell'editore
Tipologia: Documento in Versione Editoriale
Licenza: Copyright Editore
Dimensione 602.64 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
602.64 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/3027365
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
social impact