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COVID-19: The Impact on Mental Health

Around December 2019, in the city of Wuhan, China, there were reports of a virus called COVID-19 which caused severe pneumonia. A month into the new year, the cases started showing up all over China and Europe and, subsequently, turned into a global outbreak. In the beginning of March 2020, a few patients with COVID-19 were documented in New Jersey. By March 21, 2020, New Jersey and other states were in a lockdown due to the pandemic. Many people had to stay home and close their businesses if they were not deemed essential for society.

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However, the economic consequences were not the only considerations applicable to the case since similar crises tend to evoke the population’s anxiety. This phenomenon was widely discussed by scholars who claimed that it was especially visible during pandemic waves (Baran, 2017). One of such examples was the Fukushima disaster, and it was characterized by anxiety and uncertainty despite the actions of all actors on multiple levels intended to mitigate its consequences (Baran, 2017). Since this reaction to international crisis events is inevitable, it is vital to examine its effects on people.

From a psychological perspective, the situation is complicated by the lack of previous research on various population groups and their reaction to the pandemic. Meanwhile, it is known that this problem is attributed to women over 40 years old working for hospitals at the time of COVID-19 (Dal Bosco et al., 2020). In the study, researchers observed the participants with the use of a sociodemographic questionnaire and hospital anxiety scale and concluded on the prevalence of corresponding problems among the female personnel (Dal Bosco et al., 2020). These results were complemented by a web-based survey conducted in Brazil, according to which young women severely suffered from anxiety evoked by COVID-19 regardless of their socialization (Goularte et al., 2020). In this way, they require particular attention in examining the phenomenon.

Another study was conducted in Italy for four weeks into the lockdown. The researchers also used a web-based survey in which eighteen thousand one hundred forty-seven individuals completed the questionnaire, and 79.6% of them were women (Rossi et al., 2020). The assessment was made on the basis of the presence of post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), depression, anxiety, insomnia, perceived stress, and adjustment disorder symptoms (ADS) in the sample (Rossi et al., 2020). It revealed the increased rates of mental health issues among the participants with the introduction of lockdown measures and highlighted the importance of regular evaluations of their conditions (Rossi et al., 2020). With everything going, “Did COVID-19 impact women between 21-28 social life increasing their anxiety?.” “Did the pandemic cause the increase in anxiety in young women?”

Therefore, this study is to explore how COVID-19 impacted young women aside from getting them sick but causing mental health issues. In the study conducted by Cao et al. (2020) in China in December 2019, the college students were asked to fill in a questionnaire which was consequently analyzed with the help of a scale. According to its results, young people started to suffer from severe, moderate, and mild anxiety (9%, 2.7%, and 21.3%, respectively) (Cao et al., 2020). This outcome positively correlated with the beginning of the pandemic (Xiang et al., 2020). What was more important, single participants of the study were reported to have more severe anxiety in contrast to their peers in couples (Cao et al., 2020). It allows concluding on the significance of social support in combating the problem.

Hence, the emergence of mental health issues in young women as a result of lockdown measures in COVID-19 is related to their social life. This connection is conditional upon their stronger reaction to the changes in this aspect compared to the one of the men (Asher et al., 2017). The scholars claimed that gender differences played a significant role in the studies which aimed to define the mental health issues related to socialization (Asher et al., 2017). Thus, for example, while examining the social anxiety disorder among female and male population groups, they revealed the elevated severity and psychological arousal which was stronger in the former (Asher et al., 2017). Moreover, the study’s results were reported to be unbiased (Asher et al., 2017). Therefore, such a factor as possible prejudice is inessential in the matter.

In the current study, the effects of COVID-19 on women and the interrelation between their mental health problems, social life and anxiety were considered. The participants were between 21 and 28 years old, and the sample’s selection was conditional upon the previous research which demonstrated the necessity to assess the health issues of this population group. Thus, the experience of women during the crises in the past confirmed the necessity to evaluate anxiety among them.

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Previously, the prevalence of mental health issues in women and college students resulting from the pandemic was confirmed to be more frequent than in men. They were also reported to suffer more severely from such mental issues as the social anxiety disorder which implied the connection between gender and problems of this nature in COVID-19. In this way, it was hypothesized that there was a positive correlation between the introduction of lockdown measures negatively affecting social life and the increase in anxiety among young women.

References

Asher, M., Asnaani, A., & Aderka, I. M. (2017). Gender differences in social anxiety disorder: A review. Clinical Psychology Review, 56, 1-12.

Baran, C. (2017). The effects of uncertainty: Anxiety and crisis preparedness. In E. Eklundh, A. Zevnik, & E-P. Guittet (Eds.), Politics of anxiety (pp. 101-120). Rowman & Littlefield.

Cao, W., Fang, Z., Hou, G., Han, M., Xu, X., Dong, J., & Zheng, J. (2020). The psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on college students in China. Psychiatry Research. 

Dal’Bosco, E. B., Floriano, L. S. M., Skupien, S. V., Arcaro, G., Martins, A. R., & Anselmo, A. C. C. (2020). Mental health of nursing in coping with COVID-19 at a regional university hospital. Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem, 73.

Goularte, J. F., Serafim, S. D., Colombo, R., Hogg, B., Caldieraro, M. A., & Rosa, A. R. (2020). COVID-19 and mental health in Brazil: Psychiatric symptoms in the general population. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 132, 32-37.

Rossi, R., Socci, V., Talevi, D., Mensi, S., Niolu, C., Pacitti, F., Di Marco, A., Rossi, A., Siracusano, A., & Di Lorenzo, G. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures impact on mental health among the general population in Italy. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11.

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Xiang Y.-T., Yang Y., Li W., Zhang L., Zhang Q., Cheung T., & Ng, C. H. (2020). Timely mental health care for the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak is urgently needed. Lancet Psychiatry 7(3), 228-229.

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