Differences in mental health problems, coping self-efficacy and social support between adults victimised before and adults victimised after the COVID-19 outbreak : population-based prospective study

Background Victims of violence, accidents and threats are at risk for mental health problems. Lower coping self-efficacy and social support levels increase this risk. Although highly relevant, it is unknown if the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic amplifies these risks.

 

Aims To examine if the prevalence, incidence and/or mean scores for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression symptoms, general mental health problems, coping self-efficacy, lack of emotional support and social acknowledgement are higher among adults victimised in the year after the COVID-19 outbreak compared with adults victimised in a similar period before the outbreak. Also, to compare symptoms, problems and support within non-victims during the same period.

 

Method Data was extracted from four surveys of the VICTIMS study (March 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021), based on a random sample of the Dutch population. Multivariate logistic regression analyses and mixed-effects models were used to examine differences between the two victim groups (2019: n = 421, 2021: n = 319) and non-victims (n = 3245).

 

Results Adults victimised after the outbreak more often had PTSD, anxiety and depression symptoms, general mental health problems and lower coping self-efficacy than those victimised before. They did not differ in lack of support and acknowledgement. Both victim groups differed from non-victims, where mental health problems and lack of support levels were much lower and almost stable.

 

Conclusions The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the mental health and coping self-efficacy levels of victims, whereas mental health problems among non-victims remained virtually stable. Mental healthcare workers, general practitioners and victim services should take this impact into account.

Reference: 
Peter G. van der Velden, Carlo Contino, Marcel Das, Joost Leenen and Lutz Wittmann | 2022
In: British Journal of Psychiatry ; ISSN: 0007-1250
https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2021.226
Online ahead of print DOI: 10.1192/bjp.2021.226
Keywords: 
Anxiety Disorders, Coping Behavior, COVID-19 (en), Depressive Disorders, Emotional States, Epidemiology, Mental health, Natural Disasters, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD (en), Social Support, Statistical Analysis