Neurol Sci. 2021 Nov 25. doi: 10.1007/s10072-021-05768-0. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Individuals experienced psychological symptoms in response to quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the possible effect of age and gender on the evolution of mental health status after the quarantine in the Italian population and the baseline predictors of post-traumatic stress symptoms.
METHODS: An online follow-up questionnaire including an assessment of depression, anxiety, anger, post-traumatic stress, subjective cognitive failures, resilience, and coping style was completed by participants 2 months after the end of the quarantine (n = 758).
RESULTS: Individuals experienced psychological symptoms also 2 months after the end of the quarantine. No decrease in depression and anxiety scores emerged, but younger individuals and females experienced more severe symptoms. Anger symptoms decreased in young adults, whereas they increased in older adults. Moreover, individuals reported more cognitive failures at follow-up. No changes were observed in resilience, whereas participants reported adopting fewer coping strategies at follow-up. Finally, post-traumatic stress symptoms 2 months after the end of the lockdown were associated with more severe psychological symptoms and more fear of getting infected at baseline.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that the long-term psychological impact and the cognitive consequences of quarantine differ according to age and gender. The identification of more vulnerable groups allows the implementation of interventions to reduce psychological symptoms and the risk for cognitive impairment.