English Polski
Vol 19, No 2 (2022)
Research paper
Published online: 2021-11-09
Page views 983
Article views/downloads 32
Get Citation

Connect on Social Media

Connect on Social Media

Mental health risk factors during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Polish population

Paweł Larionow1, Karolina Mudło-Głagolska1
Psychiatria 2022;19(2):89-108.


Introduction: The level of post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) associated with the early stages of the COVID-19

outbreak, stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms was assessed. Risk factors for mental health in the Polish population

have been identified.

Material and methods: Nine hundred and twenty-six respondents completed a set of questionnaires consisting of

questions concerning COVID-19, PTSS related to the COVID-19 outbreak (Impact of Event Scale-Revised, IES-R), and

their mental health status (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale, DASS-21).

Results: Most respondents reported severe PTSS related to the COVID-19 outbreak (44.06%), the normal intensity of

depressive symptoms (52.38%), anxiety symptoms (56.05%), and stress (56.48%). Almost 20% of Polish respondents

were characterized by a severe or extremely severe level of stress, anxiety, or depressive symptoms. Every seventh

respondent reported an extremely severe level of depressive symptoms. Female gender, parental status, having

a relationship, at least a two-person household were associated with higher PTSS or DASS-21 subscales. A few physical

symptoms, a medical visit, quarantine, negative health evaluation, chronic diseases, knowledge about the increase

in the number of infected people or deaths were associated with higher levels of PTSS. Some of the precautions and

the need for additional information on COVID-19, the certainty of a high COVID-19 contracting probability or of

a low survival rate, and concerns about the loved ones were associated with higher PTSS.

Conclusions: The indicated risk factors can be used for developing psychological interventions to improve mental

health. It is necessary to conduct qualitative research on the psychological reasons for the occurrence of mental

symptoms during the pandemic.

Article available in PDF format

Add to basket: 49.00 PLN

Aready have access?


  1. WHO. Mental health and COVID-19. http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/technical-guidance/mental-health-and-covid-19.
  2. Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. Lancet. 2020; 395(10227): 912–920.
  3. UNICEF. Social stigma associated with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). https://www.unicef.org/documents/social-stigma-associated-coronavirus-disease-covid-19 (24.02.2020).
  4. Huang Y, Zhao N, Huang Y, et al. Generalized anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms and sleep quality during COVID-19 outbreak in China: a web-based cross-sectional survey. Psychiatry Res. 2020; 288: 112954.
  5. Sun L, Sun Z, Wu L, et al. Epidemic area contact history and sleep quality associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms in the first phase of COVID-19 outbreak in China. Sci Rep. 2020; 10(1): 22463–129.
  6. Qian M, Wu Q, Wu P, et al. Anxiety levels, precautionary behaviours and public perceptions during the early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in China: a population-based cross-sectional survey. BMJ Open. 2020; 10(10): e040910.
  7. Wang Y, Di Yu, Ye J, et al. Study on the public psychological states and its related factors during the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in some regions of China. Psychol Health Med. 2021; 26(1): 13–22.
  8. Lee SA. Coronavirus Anxiety Scale: A brief mental health screener for COVID-19 related anxiety. Death Stud. 2020; 44(7): 393–401.
  9. Wang C, Pan R, Wan X, et al. Immediate Psychological Responses and Associated Factors during the Initial Stage of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Epidemic among the General Population in China. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020; 17(5).
  10. Juczyński Z, Ogińska-Bulik N. Pomiar zaburzeń po stresie traumatycznym – polska wersja Zrewidowanej Skali Wpływu Zdarzeń. [Measurement of post-traumatic stress disorder – Polish version of Impact Event Scale-Revised]. Psychiatria. 2009; 6(1): 15–25.
  11. Lovibond S.H., Lovibond P.F. Manual for the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (2nd ed.). Sydney, Psychology Foundation of Australia 1995.
  12. Wilder-Smith A, Chiew CJ, Lee VJ. Can we contain the COVID-19 outbreak with the same measures as for SARS? Lancet Infect Dis. 2020; 20(5): e102–e107.
  13. Xu J, Zheng Y, Wang M, et al. Predictors of symptoms of posttraumatic stress in Chinese university students during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Med Sci Monit. 2011; 17(7): PH60–PH64.
  14. Qiu J, Shen B, Zhao M, et al. A nationwide survey of psychological distress among Chinese people in the COVID-19 epidemic: implications and policy recommendations. Gen Psychiatr. 2020; 33(2): e100213.
  15. Ahmed MdZ, Ahmed O, Aibao Z, et al. Epidemic of COVID-19 in China and associated Psychological Problems. Asian J Psychiatr. 2020; 51: 102092.
  16. Li JB, Yang An, Dou K, et al. Chinese public's knowledge, perceived severity, and perceived controllability of COVID-19 and their associations with emotional and behavioural reactions, social participation, and precautionary behaviour: a national survey. BMC Public Health. 2020; 20(1): 1589.
  17. Carvalho Ld, Pianowski G, Gonçalves AP. Personality differences and COVID-19: are extroversion and conscientiousness personality traits associated with engagement with containment measures? Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2020; 42(2): 179–184.
  18. Li JB, Yang An, Dou K, et al. Self-Control Moderates the Association Between Perceived Severity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Mental Health Problems Among the Chinese Public. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020; 17(13).