The Most Stressful Events during the COVID-19 Epidemic

Iran J Psychiatry. 2020 Jul;15(3):220-227. doi: 10.18502/ijps.v15i3.3814.


Objective: Stressful events increase in traumatic conditions. Coronavirus is a new and serious challenge and significant public health problem, which can cause different stressors. This study has identified stressful events experienced by Iranian adults during the COVID-19 epidemic. Method: Data on stressful events during the COVID-19 epidemic were collected online from 418 adults (mean age 37.16 years; 57.4% female and 42.6% male) using quota sampling method. Epidemic Stressful Events Checklist was applied for data collection. Data were analyzed by applying descriptive graphs and tables, the independent sample t-test, the Fisher's F test, and post hoc Bonferroni test. Results: The most frequent stressful event was rise in essential goods prices (84.7%); however, its perceived stress was not at the highest level. The highest severity of perceived stress was related to the death of a family member (4.83) due to COVID-19 infection, which was an event with the least occurrence, and the lowest severity of perceived stress was related to medical team performance (2.50). The results showed the severity of perceived stress is higher in women than men (t = 3.42; P value < 0.01) and also in the laboring occupations compared to other occupations (F = 3.18; P value < 0.05). Conclusion: Traumatic events can lead to more serious concerns, eg., worrying about those we love, concerns about the future of our life, and about what politicians and macro planners will do to protect our lives. Moreover, traumatic events can cause concerns about food, basic needs, and lack of resources to survive.

Keywords: COVID-19 Epidemic; Coronavirus Epidemic; Infection; Stress.