Psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and social determinants among the Portuguese population: study protocol

JMIR Res Protoc. 2021 Sep 13. doi: 10.2196/28071. Online ahead of print.


Background: The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and all physical distance measures implemented across the world have caused significant stress, anxiety and mental health implications in the general population. Unemployment, working from home and day-to-day changes may lead to a greater risk of poor mental health outcomes.

Objective: To describe the protocol for a cross-sectional online study that aim to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.

Methods: Individuals from the general population with 18 or more years of age living in Portugal were included. Data was collected between 10 November 2020 and 10 February 2021. An exponential non-discriminative snowball sampling method was applied to recruit participants. An online survey was prepared and shared on social network applications (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and WhatsApp groups) and through e-mail mailing lists for the recruitment of the "seeds".

Results: Analysis will be performed in accordance with the different variables and outcomes of interest based on quantitative methods, qualitative methods or mixed-methods, accordingly. As of 10 February 2021, 929 individuals had completed the survey, making the final sample of the study. Results of the survey will be disseminated in national and international scientific journals during 2021-2022.

Conclusions: Our findings will have broad implications for understanding the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Portuguese residents as well as aspects related to informal economy. We also hope to be able to provide insights and guidelines for action to the Portuguese Government. In the end, we expect this protocol to provide a roadmap for other countries and researchers that would like to implement a similar questionnaire considering the related conclusions.

International registered report: DERR1-10.2196/28071.