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Psychological Distress and Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress in Response to the COVID-19 Health Emergency in a Mexican Sample

Authors González Ramírez LP, Martínez Arriaga RJ, Hernández-Gonzalez MA, De la Roca-Chiapas JM

Received 23 April 2020

Accepted for publication 26 June 2020

Published 22 July 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 589—597


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Leivy Patricia González Ramírez,1 Reyna Jazmín Martínez Arriaga,2 Martha Alicia Hernández-Gonzalez,3 José María De la Roca-Chiapas4

1School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tecnologico De Monterrey, Guadalajara Campus, Guadalajara, Mexico; 2Department of Population Health, Tonalá University Centre, University of Guadalajara, Tonalá, Mexico; 3Division head of Health Research, Highly Specialized Medical Unit No, 1 of the Bajio, Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), León, México; 4Department of Psychology, University of Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico

Correspondence: José María De la Roca-Chiapas
Department of Psychology, University of Guanajuato, Blvd. Puente Milenio 1001, Fraccion Del Predio San Carlos, León 37670, Guanajuato, Mexico
Tel +52-477-2674900 Ext. 3664
Email [email protected]

Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the psychological impacts of COVID-19 prevention measures, such as social isolation, on a Mexican sample.
Methods: We conducted an online sociodemographic and Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) survey during the second phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in Mexico to evaluate the presence of psychological distress, signs of post-traumatic stress, and to identify the groups at highest risk in the sample.
Results: Prevalence of psychological distress at moderate or severe levels in the sample were as follows: 943 (22%) intrusive thoughts, 933 (22.3%) avoidance, and 515 (12.2%) hyperarousal. Furthermore, we found the symptoms of clinically significant post-traumatic stress in 1160 (27.7%) of the participants. The variables positively correlated with higher psychological distress were as follows: age (younger), sex (female), employment (employed), relationship status (single), in social isolation, number of days in isolation, the number of people in the household (3– 5), and a perception of a high risk of contracting COVID-19, change in routine, engaging in less activity, and loss of income.
Conclusion: During phase 2 of the COVID-19 outbreak in Mexico, we observed the presence of psychological distress and post-traumatic stress symptoms in over a quarter of the population. This investigation may guide mental health interventions and policies towards the groups that are most vulnerable to the impacts of the social and lifestyle changes taking place in Mexico due to COVID-19.

Keywords: coronavirus, mental health, Impact of Event Scale-Revised, intrusive thoughts, stress

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