IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 1239: From the First to the Second Wave of COVID-19: Anxiety, De-Pressive, and Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in the Italian Population (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
In the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, high rates of clinically relevant anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) have been reported in the Italian population. The persistence of the pandemic and related restrictive measures highlight the need for a reassessment of psychopathological symptoms. The present longitudinal study consisted of two evaluations conducted during the two waves of infection. Participants were asked to complete the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Form Y1 (STAI Y1), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), and the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). There were no significant differences in depressive symptoms and PTSS scores reported by participants between T0 and T1, with single-case analysis revealing that in 71% and 69% of the participants, depressive symptoms and PTSS symptoms, respectively, remained stable during this period. On the contrary, mean scores comparison showed a significant decrease in anxiety levels, with 19% of participants in whom anxiety symptoms improved at single-case analysis. Taken together, these results suggest that depressive symptoms and PTSS not only occurred in a high percentage of participants but also tended to remain stable over time, thus warranting the importance of large-scale psychological screening and interventions to prevent the chronicization of these symptoms and their evolution to psychopathological disorders.