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The COVID-19 pandemic represents a new form of trauma, which is impacting on the mental health of the general population. However, the effects of this new trauma are variable, being mediated by individual factors such as the levels of resilience and the coping strategies.
The aims of the present study are: 1) describe the levels of resilience and the type of coping strategies adopted by the Italian general adult population during the first wave of the pandemic; 2) evaluate the protective role of coping strategies and resilience on the levels of depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms.
An online survey has been developed, which includes several validated self-reported questionnaires for the evaluation of participants’ mental health condition, coping strategies and levels of resilience. The main outcome measure is the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21).
The finale sample consists of 20,720 participants, more than half reported low levels of resilience, which were not associated with age or gender. The levels of resilience did not differ among the general population, patients with pre-existing mental disorders and those infected by COVID-19. People with low levels of resilience rarely used adaptive coping strategies. The levels of resilience did not have any influence on stress, depressive or anxiety symptoms.
The presence of low levels of resilience in the general population may be the missing link between the pandemic and increasing concerns on mental health problems. This could be important for the development of ad-hoc supportive and preventive psychosocial interventions.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is associated to high personal and social burden, impaired social functioning and high levels of disability. Recent studies have showed that relapse rates are significantly reduced in those patients whose families receive psychoeducational interventions. Even though most of available evidences are related to the short-term efficacy of psychoeducational family interventions (PFI). No evidence is available on medium and long-term efficacy.
This study aims to assess the efficacy after one and five years of PFI in BD in terms of: 1) improvement of patients’ symptoms and global functioning; 2) improvement of relatives’ objective and subjective burden and coping strategies.
A multicenter, controlled, outpatient trial has been conducted in BD patients and their key relatives, recruited in 11 Italian mental health centers. Patient’s clinical status, social and personal functioning, burden of illness, and relative’s burden and coping strategies were assessed with specific instruments at baseline, after 1 year and after 5 years.
137 families were recruited, 70 allocated to the experimental intervention. After one year, an increasing positive effect on patients’ clinical status, global functioning and objective and subjective burden was found. Moreover, were observed a reduced number of relapses and of hospitalizations after five years, compared to the control group. A reduction in the levels of family burden and an improvement of their coping strategies were also observed.
Positive effects of the experimental intervention persist over the mid and long-term period. PFI should be provided in mental health centres to patients with BD and their relatives.
Perinatal depression is a severe and disabling condition, which affects negatively both mothers’ and children’s mental health and well-being. About 12.8% of pregnant women report depressive symptoms in the perinatal period.
The aims of the present study are to: 1) identify factors (socio-demographic and clinical) associated with an increased risk of developing PD; 2) promote a screening program on PD.
All pregnant women were assessed at each trimester of pregnancy, three days after the childbirth and after 1, 3, 6 and 12 months, with the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS). Women scoring ≥10 on the EPDS were invited to receive a full psychiatric evaluation to confirm the diagnosis.
420 women were recruited. 52.9%, 27.6% and 31.6% of participants presented an EPDS≥ 10 score at The I, II and III trimester of pregnancy, respectively. The percentage of patients with and EPS score ≥19 is 16.6%, 6.8%, 6.8%, 11.3% and 7.8% in 3 days following the childbirth and after 3, 6, 9 and 12 months, respectively. Higher EPDS scores are predicted by the presence of anxiety symptoms before pregnancy and of depressive and anxiety symptoms in previous pregnancies (p<0.05). Women with family conflicts and with anxiety symptoms in the partner are more likely to report higher EPDS scores (p<0.001).
Our results confirm that perinatal depression is a highly prevalent condition. An early identification of depressive symptoms during this period is crucial in order to reduce the long-term negative impact on the mothers, the newborn and other family members.
Social dysfunction is a putative risk and maintaining factor for Eating Disorders (EDs).
We aimed to assess biological, emotional, and cognitive responses to a psychosocial stressor, in order to provide a multilevel investigation of the RDoC social process system in EDs.
Cortisol response to Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) was measured in 105 subjects: 35 women with anorexia nervosa (AN), 32 with bulimia nervosa (BN) and 38 healthy women. In a subgroup of them (23 AN, 21 BN, and 25 control women) anxiety, hunger, and desire to eat throughout the TSST were also rated.
Compared to healthy women, AN and BN women showed reduced cortisol reactivity that disappeared after controlling for trait anxiety and ineffectiveness. They also displayed increased anxiety response, while only people with AN reported greater decrease in hunger and desire to eat. Baseline ineffectiveness predicted post-stress body dissatisfaction through the mediation of post-stress anxiety while no significant correlations were found between cortisol and anxiety, hunger, or desire to eat responses
People with EDs are characterized by blunted cortisol reactivity and greater anxiety, hunger, and desire to eat responses to a psychosocial stressor. We show a relationship between socio-emotional distress and ED-related attitudes without an association between biological and emotional or cognitive changes. This study provides the first empirical and multilevel support to a deranged functioning of the RDoC “system for social process” in EDs.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is one of the most burdensome psychiatric illnesses, being associated with a negative long-term outcome and high suicide rate. Although affective temperaments are considered possible mediators of outcome, their role on the course and outcome of BD remains poorly studied.
The aims of the present study are to describe the clinical characteristics of patients with BD more frequently associated with the different affective temperaments and to verify which affective temperaments are associated with a more severe clinical picture in a sample of patients with BD.
All patients with BD referring to the outpatient units of two Italian university sites have been recruited. Patients’ psychiatric symptoms, affective temperaments, and quality of life were investigated through validated assessment instruments.
199 patients were recruited. 54.8% of patients had a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder. 56.8% of the sample reported at least one episode of aggressive behaviours and 30.2% of suicidal attempt. Predominant cyclothymic and irritable temperaments predicted more frequent relapses, a poorer quality of life (p<;0.05), more aggressive behaviours and suicide attempts (p<;0.01). The predominant hyperthymic disposition was a protective factor for several outcome measures, including relapses and suicidality (p<;0.01), and was correlated with a less severity of psychiatric symptoms and later age at onset (p<;0.05).
Early identification of affective temperaments in BD patients can help clinicians to identify those who could show a worse prognosis. A screening of affective temperaments can be useful to develop early targeted integrated pharmacological and psychosocial interventions.
Earlier analysis of the Italian population showed patterns of genetic
differentiation that were
interpreted as being the result of population settlements going back to
pre-Roman times. DNA
disease mutations may be a powerful tool in further testing this hypothesis
since the analysis of
diseased individuals can detect variants too rare to be resolved in normal
individuals. We present
data on the relative frequencies of 60 cystic fibrosis (CF) mutations in
Italy and the geographical
distribution of the 12 most frequent CF mutations screened in 3492 CF
chromosomes originating in
13 Italian regions. The 12 most frequent mutations characterize about 73%
of the Italian CF
chromosomes. The most common mutation, ΔF508, has an average frequency
51%, followed by
N1303K and G542X, both with average frequencies around 5%. Multivariate
analyses show that the
relative frequencies of CF mutations are heterogeneous among Italian regions,
and that this
heterogeneity is weakly correlated with the geographical pattern of non-DNA
markers. The northern regions are well differentiated from the central-southern
regions and within
the former group the western and eastern regions are remarkably distinct.
Moreover, Sardinia shows
the presence of mutation T338I, which seems absent in any other European
CF chromosome. The
north-western regions of Italy, characterized by the mutation 1717-1G→A,
under Celtic influence, while the north-east regions, characterized by
mutations R1162X, 2183AA→G and
7115G→A, were under the influence of the Venetic culture.
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