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1.
Virtual Real ; : 1-16, 2021 Nov 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1826523

ABSTRACT

Large populations worldwide have been deprived from nature experiences due to mass quarantines and lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and face a looming mental health crisis. Virtual reality offers a safe and practical solution to increase nature exposure. This research examined the effects of virtual nature using a within-subject design with young adults (Study 1) and senior citizens (Study 2). Results from the young adult sample showed that walking in a virtual forest reduced negative affect due to enhanced nature connectedness, and reduced stress measured by heart rate. Consistently, the senior citizen sample reported improved positive affect due to enhanced nature connectedness after the virtual nature walk. Our findings unveil the underlying mechanism of how virtual nature may improve psychological well-being and demonstrated how virtual nature can be used as an intervention to promote mental health. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10055-021-00604-4.

3.
PLoS ONE Vol 16(8), 2021, ArtID e0256364 ; 16(8), 2021.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-1801371

ABSTRACT

The Halo Effect is a widely studied phenomenon that interests multiple disciplines. The relationship between Aesthetics Appearance and perceived Trustworthiness has especially gathered the attention of social scientists. While experimental works compared the strength of the Halo Effect in different situations (e.g. different genders' faces), little is known about the stability of the Halo. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been urged to distance ourselves from others. Similar suggestions may alter the relationship between Aesthetic Appearance and Perceived Trustworthiness. Moreover, previous works reported that individuals' attachment styles affected their emotional responses to the pandemic. Individuals' attachment styles may influence the magnitude of change of the Halo. Here we investigate how priming (Social Distancing or Contact with others) affects the strength of the Halo Effect, with respect to individuals' attachment styles. Participants (N = 298) rated the Aesthetics and Perceived Trustworthiness of strangers' faces (N = 96) presented twice, before and after the presentation of a prime. Results revealed that individuals' attachment styles affect the strength of the Halo. However, we found no evidence supporting the fact that different attachment styles lead to differences in the magnitude of changes after priming. Results help shed light on how attachment styles influence individuals' impression formation. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

4.
Social Sciences ; 11(4):173, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1785902

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant effects on people worldwide, yet the psychological impact of collective traumas may differ at the individual and societal level. Parents may be exposed to greater pandemic-related stressors, yet also are more likely than non-parents to have social interactions during social distancing mandates. Furthermore, varying degrees of pandemic severity in countries may alter the adverse outcomes of pandemic stressors on psychopathology across nations. The purpose of this investigation was to cross-nationally explore how COVID-19 stress exposure relates to psychological distress and whether the association differed by parental status and nationality. Individuals from the United States (n = 2449) and Italy (n = 579) completed assessments measuring traumatic stress, depressive symptoms, and COVID-19-related stressors. COVID-19-related stressors were positively associated with traumatic stress and depressive symptoms. The association between COVID-19-related stressors and psychological distress did not differ by parental status or nationality. We also found that being a young adult, having a lower educational status, not being a parent, and being Italian were related to exposure to COVID-19-related stressors. We discuss these findings and their implications for our understanding of unique contexts that may pose as risk or resiliency factors during a global collective trauma, particularly on parental psychological distress as a way of promoting whole-family wellness.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-324070

ABSTRACT

**This manuscript has been submitted for publication and is likely to be edited as part of the peer-review process. Correspondence regarding this paper should be addressed to Keri Ka-Yee Wong, keri.wong@ucl.ac.uk.**Background. The 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted people’s mental wellbeing. Studies to date have examined the prevalence of mental health symptoms (anxiety, depression, loneliness), yet fewer longitudinal studies have compared across background factors and other psychological variables to identify vulnerable sub-groups. This study tests to what extent higher levels of psychotic-like experiences – indexed by schizotypal traits and paranoia – are associated with various mental health variables 6- and 12-months since April 2020.Methods. Over 2,300 adult volunteers (18-89 years, female=74.9%) with access to the study link online were recruited from the UK, USA, Greece, and Italy. Self-reported levels of schizotypy, paranoia, anxiety, depression, aggression, loneliness, and stress from three timepoints (17 April to 13 July 2020, N1 =1,599;17 October to 31 January 2021, N2 =774;and 17 April to 31 July 2021, N3 =586) were mapped using network analysis and compared across time and background variables (sex, age, income, country). Results. Schizotypal traits and paranoia were positively associated with poorer mental health through loneliness, with no effect of age, sex, income levels, countries, and timepoints. Loneliness was the most influential variable across all networks, despite overall reductions in levels of loneliness, schizotypy, paranoia, and aggression during the easing of lockdown. Individuals with higher levels of schizotypal traits/paranoia reported poorer mental health outcomes than individuals in the low-trait groups.Conclusion. Schizotypal traits and paranoia are associated with poor mental health outcomes through self-perceived loneliness, suggesting that increasing social/community cohesion may improve individuals’ mental wellbeing in the long run.

6.
Emerg Trends Drugs Addict Health ; 2: 100032, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1664926

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus pandemic affected the life of those suffering from addictive behaviors often confined to prolonged periods of self-isolation. To explore the variation of symptoms related to gambling, 46 outpatients of the mental health services in the Trento Province were invited to take part in a phone interview at the start of the national lockdown. Although only 2.17% increased gambling activity during this period, half of the sample (50.00%) experienced irritability, mood fluctuation (43.48%) and anxiety (39.13%). Follow-up studies should assess modifications in their behaviors that occurred after the reopening of gambling venues.

7.
J Psychiatr Res ; 148: 34-44, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654821

ABSTRACT

With the global COVID-19 pandemic, governments from many countries in the world implemented various restrictions to prevent the SARS-Cov-2 virus's spread, including social distancing measures, quarantine, in-home lockdown, and the closure of services and public spaces. This led to an in-creased use of social media platforms to make people feel more connected, but also to maintain physical activity while self-isolating. Concerns about physical appearance and the desire to keep or reach a muscular and toned ideal body, might have further reinforced the engagement in fitness-related social media activities, like sharing progresses in training achievements or following more fitness contents on popular profiles. To better understand the underlying relation among these factors, the present study investigates 729 responses to the Exercise Addiction Inventory (EAI), the Appearance Anxiety Inventory (AAI), the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) and their association to social media usage and compares the results cross-culturally in five countries (Spain, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Japan, and Hungary). Findings highlight significant differences between males and females, espe-cially in regard to the time spent online (U = 477.5, p = 0.036). Greater levels of appearance anxiety were associated with the exposure to fitness-related contents on social media. These results strongly confirm the previously highlighted association between fitspiration media and body image anxiety predominantly in females. Clinical implications and future considerations in terms of prevention and treatment in a situation of global emergency are also discussed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Eur J Investig Health Psychol Educ ; 11(4): 1619-1634, 2021 Dec 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613692

ABSTRACT

Digital collaborative storytelling can be supported by an online learning-management system like Moodle, encouraging prosocial behaviors and shared representations. This study investigated children's storytelling and collaborative behaviors during an online storytelling activity throughout the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 home confinement in Spain. From 1st to 5th grade of primary school, one-hundred-sixteen students conducted weekly activities of online storytelling as an extracurricular project of a school in Madrid. Facilitators registered participants' platform use and collaboration. Stories were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using the Bears Family Story Analysis System. Three categories related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic were added to the story content analysis. The results indicate that primary students worked collaboratively in an online environment, with some methodology adaptations to 1st and 2nd grade. Story lengths tended to be reduced with age, while cohesion and story structure showed stable values in all grades. All stories were balanced in positive and negative contents, especially in characters' behavior and relationships, while story problems remained at positive solution levels. In addition, the pandemic theme emerged directly or indirectly in only 15% of the stories. The findings indicate the potential of the online collaborative storytelling activities as a distance-education tool in promoting collaboration and social interactions.

9.
Biomolecules ; 11(12)2021 12 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581038

ABSTRACT

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a ubiquitous gaseous signaling molecule that has an important role in many physiological and pathological processes in mammalian tissues, with the same importance as two others endogenous gasotransmitters such as NO (nitric oxide) and CO (carbon monoxide). Endogenous H2S is involved in a broad gamut of processes in mammalian tissues including inflammation, vascular tone, hypertension, gastric mucosal integrity, neuromodulation, and defense mechanisms against viral infections as well as SARS-CoV-2 infection. These results suggest that the modulation of H2S levels has a potential therapeutic value. Consequently, synthetic H2S-releasing agents represent not only important research tools, but also potent therapeutic agents. This review has been designed in order to summarize the currently available H2S donors; furthermore, herein we discuss their preparation, the H2S-releasing mechanisms, and their -biological applications.


Subject(s)
Drug Discovery , Gasotransmitters/pharmacology , Hydrogen Sulfide/pharmacology , Animals , Benzenesulfonates/administration & dosage , Benzenesulfonates/metabolism , Benzenesulfonates/pharmacology , Benzenesulfonates/therapeutic use , Chemistry, Pharmaceutical , Gasotransmitters/administration & dosage , Gasotransmitters/metabolism , Gasotransmitters/therapeutic use , Humans , Hydrogen Sulfide/administration & dosage , Hydrogen Sulfide/metabolism , Hydrogen Sulfide/therapeutic use , Morpholines/administration & dosage , Morpholines/metabolism , Morpholines/pharmacology , Morpholines/therapeutic use , Naproxen/administration & dosage , Naproxen/analogs & derivatives , Naproxen/metabolism , Naproxen/pharmacology , Naproxen/therapeutic use , Organothiophosphorus Compounds/administration & dosage , Organothiophosphorus Compounds/metabolism , Organothiophosphorus Compounds/pharmacology , Organothiophosphorus Compounds/therapeutic use
10.
Public Health Pract (Oxf) ; 2: 100219, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537004

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: In the past months, many countries have adopted varying degrees of lockdown restrictions to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. According to the existing literature, some consequences of lockdown restrictions on people's lives are beginning to emerge yet the evolution of such consequences in relation to the time spent in lockdown is understudied. To inform policies involving lockdown restrictions, this study adopted a data-driven Machine Learning approach to uncover the short-term time-related effects of lockdown on people's physical and mental health. STUDY DESIGN: An online questionnaire was launched on 17 April 2020, distributed through convenience sampling and was self-completed by 2,276 people from 66 different countries. METHODS: Focusing on the UK sample (N = 325), 12 aggregated variables representing the participant's living environment, physical and mental health were used to train a RandomForest model to estimate the week of survey completion. RESULTS: Using an index of importance, Self-Perceived Loneliness was identified as the most influential variable for estimating the time spent in lockdown. A significant U-shaped curve emerged for loneliness levels, with lower scores reported by participants who took part in the study during the 6th lockdown week (p = 0.009). The same pattern was replicated in the Greek sample (N = 137) for week 4 (p = 0.012) and 6 (p = 0.009) of lockdown. CONCLUSIONS: From the trained Machine Learning model and the subsequent statistical analysis, Self-Perceived Loneliness varied across time in lockdown in the UK and Greek populations, with lower symptoms reported during the 4th and 6th lockdown weeks. This supports the dissociation between social support and loneliness, and suggests that social support strategies could be effective even in times of social isolation.

11.
Eur J Investig Health Psychol Educ ; 11(4): 1474-1484, 2021 Nov 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523915

ABSTRACT

To curb the diffusion of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), governments worldwide have introduced different policies, including lockdowns, social distancing, and mandatory mask wearing. Face mask wearing, especially, has an impact on the formation of first impressions, given that when meeting someone for the first time, individuals rely on the only available piece of information, the newly met person's aesthetic appearance, in order to make initial estimations of other traits, such as competence, intelligence, or trustworthiness. However, face mask wearing affects the aesthetic appearance of an individual, creating uncertainty which, in turn, has been reported to reduce others' perceived trustworthiness. In this paper, the influence of face mask wearing on strangers' perceived trustworthiness and aesthetic appearance is assessed to verify the impact of this policy on impression formation. Participants (N = 71) have been instructed to assess the trustworthiness and the aesthetic appearance of a selection of 96 images depicting individuals of different ages (children, adults, and older adults), gender (men and women), and ethnicity (Asians or Caucasians). Participants were randomly divided into two groups: an experimental group and a control group. Participants in the experimental group (N = 38) rated faces of individuals wearing a face mask, while participants in the control group rated the same faces but in the absence of a face mask. Images were presented in random order. For each face, participants were asked to rate the aesthetic appearance and perceived trustworthiness of the stranger on two different 100-point Likert scales. Results demonstrate that (i) the correlation between perceived trustworthiness and aesthetic appearance is not affected by the presence of a face mask, and (ii) age, but not ethnicity and gender, influences the magnitude of differences in perceived trustworthiness levels during mask wearing.

13.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0256364, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374148

ABSTRACT

The Halo Effect is a widely studied phenomenon that interests multiple disciplines. The relationship between Aesthetics Appearance and perceived Trustworthiness has especially gathered the attention of social scientists. While experimental works compared the strength of the Halo Effect in different situations (e.g. different genders' faces), little is known about the stability of the Halo. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been urged to distance ourselves from others. Similar suggestions may alter the relationship between Aesthetic Appearance and Perceived Trustworthiness. Moreover, previous works reported that individuals' attachment styles affected their emotional responses to the pandemic. Individuals' attachment styles may influence the magnitude of change of the Halo. Here we investigate how priming (Social Distancing or Contact with others) affects the strength of the Halo Effect, with respect to individuals' attachment styles. Participants (N = 298) rated the Aesthetics and Perceived Trustworthiness of strangers' faces (N = 96) presented twice, before and after the presentation of a prime. Results revealed that individuals' attachment styles affect the strength of the Halo. However, we found no evidence supporting the fact that different attachment styles lead to differences in the magnitude of changes after priming. Results help shed light on how attachment styles influence individuals' impression formation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Physical Distancing , Adult , COVID-19/virology , Effect Modifier, Epidemiologic , Female , Humans , Linear Models , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Personality , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Young Adult
14.
Front Psychol ; 12: 631871, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178027

ABSTRACT

The influence on the global evaluation of a person based on the perception of a single trait is a phenomenon widely investigated in social psychology. Widely regarded as Halo effect, this phenomenon has been studied for more than 100 years now, and findings such as the relationship between aesthetic perception and other personality traits-such as competence and trustworthiness-have since been uncovered. Trustworthiness plays an especially crucial role in individuals' social interactions. Despite the large body of literature published on the Halo effect, and especially on the relationship between aesthetic appearance and perceived trustworthiness, little is known about the overall generalizability of the effect, as almost all of the studies have been conducted on adult participants from Western countries. Moreover, little is known about the stability of the effect over time, in the event of major destabilization, such as the outbreak of a pandemic. In this work, the cross-cultural generalizability of the Halo effect is investigated before and during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. An analysis of the generalizability and stability over time of the Halo effect is presented. Participants (N = 380, N = 145 Asians, N = 235 Caucasians) have been asked to rate the aesthetic appearance and perceived trustworthiness of a set of human faces of different ages, gender, and ethnicity. Result of our analysis demonstrated that the Halo effect (Aesthetic × trustworthiness) is influenced by the age of presented faces, but not by their gender or ethnicity. Moreover, our results show that the strength of the effect can be affected by external events and that the volatility is higher for adults' than children's faces.

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