Related Health Factors of Psychological Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Spain

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 2;17(11):3947. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17113947.


Measures to prevent and contain the COVID-19 health crisis include population confinement, with the consequent isolation and interruption of their usual activities. The aim of the study is to analyse psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. For this, a cross-sectional observational study with a sample of 4180 people over the age of 18 during quarantine was developed. Variables considered were sociodemographic variables, physical symptoms, health conditions, COVID-19 contact history and psychological adjustment. The data were collected through a self-developed questionnaire and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Bivariate analyses were performed, including Chi-Squared test and Student's T-test. Predictive ability was calculated through logistic regression. Results obtained showed a high level of psychological distress (72.0%), with a higher percentage in women and people of lower middle age. Statistically significant differences were found in the variable working situation (χ² = 63.139, p 0.001, V = 0.123) and living with children under the age of 16 (χ² = 7.393, p = 0.007, V = 0.042). The predictive variables with the highest weight were sex (OR = 1.952, 95% IC = (1.667, 2.286)), presence of symptoms (OR = 1.130, 95% CI = (1.074, 1.190)), and having had close contact with an individual with confirmed COVID-19 (OR = 1.241, 95% CI = (1.026, 1.500)). These results could enrich prevention interventions in public health and, in particular, in mental health in similar pandemic situations.

Keywords: COVID-19; mental health; pandemic; psychological distress; public health; quarantine; risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pandemics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology
  • Psychological Distress*
  • Quarantine
  • Spain / epidemiology