Recovering from COVID-19 : psychological sequelae and post-traumatic growth six months after discharge

Background: Clinical and scientific evidence has shown that a range of long-lasting symptoms can persist in the post-virological period. However, little is known about the psychological sequelae of patients hospitalized for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


Objective: This study aims to assess the prevalence of anxiety–depressive symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and post-traumatic growth among patients hospitalized for COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic 6 months after discharge, and to identify sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with psychological outcomes.


Method: This cross-sectional cohort study enrolled recovered COVID-19 patients during a multidisciplinary follow-up screening. At 6 months post-discharge, participants underwent a remote assessment with the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview Plus and completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, and PostTraumatic Growth Inventory. Descriptive and regression analyses were conducted.


Results: The sample was composed of 100 patients, mainly males (72%), with a mean±SD age of 58.7 ±11.8 years. Regarding psychological symptoms, 34% and24%ofpatients, respectively, reported anxiety and depression over the clinical threshold, and 20% met the criteria for a possible PTSD diagnosis. Psychological symptoms were associated with the presence of a mood disorder in the patient’s clinical history and having received a psychological consultation after discharge. Post-traumatic growth was associated with younger age and having received a psychological consultation after discharge.


Conclusions: A high prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms, potentially indicative for a mood or anxiety disorder, and PTSD was confirmed among COVID-19 survivors after 6 months. Anxiety and depressive symptoms and PTSD were associated with a previous diagnosis of a mood disorder and having received psychological consultation. Post-traumatic growth was associated with younger age and having received psychological consultation. Tailored psychological interventions could help to elaborate the psychological suffering and foster post-traumatic growth after a traumatic experience such as COVID-19 hospitalization.

Federica Bonazza, Chiara Luridiana Battistini, Giulia Fior, Emilio Bergamelli, Federico Wiedenmann, Armando D’Agostino, Giuseppe Francesco Sferrazza Papa, Lidia Borghi, Kyrie Piscopo, Elena Vegni & Giulia Lamiani | 2022
In: European Journal of Psychotraumatology ; ISSN: 2000-8066 | 13 | 1 | July | 2095133
Anxiety Disorders, Assessment, COVID-19 (en), Depressive Disorders, Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases, Interventions, Italians, Mental health, Posttraumatic growth, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Research