Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has created a public mental health crisis. Brief, valid electronic tools are required to evaluate mental health status, identify specific risk factors, and offer treatment when needed. Objective: To determine the construct validity, reliability, and measurement invariance of a brief screening tool for mental health symptoms by sex, loss of loved ones, personal COVID-19 status, and psychological care-seeking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the aim involved establishing a predictive pattern between the mental health variables. Method: A total sample of 27,320 Mexican participants, with a mean age of 32 years (SD = 12.24, range = 18-80), 67% women (n = 18,308), 23.10% with a loss of loved ones (n = 6,308), 18.3% with COVID-19 status (n = 5,005), and 18.40% seeking psychological care (n = 5,026), completed a questionnaire through a WebApp, containing socio-demographic data (sex, loss of loved ones, COVID-19 status, and psychological care-seeking) and the dimensions from the Posttraumatic Checklist, Depression-Generalized Anxiety Questionnaires, and Health Anxiety-Somatization scales. We used the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA: through maximum likelihood to continuous variable data, as an estimation method), the invariance measurement, and the structural equational modeling (SEM) to provide evidence of the construct validity of the scale and the valid path between variables. We analyzed the measurement invariance for each dimension by comparison groups to examine the extent to which the items showed comparable psychometric properties. Findings: The tool included eight dimensions: four posttraumatic stress symptoms -intrusion, avoidance, hyperactivation, and numbing, as well as depression, generalized anxiety, health anxiety, and somatization The tool's multidimensionality, was confirmed through the CFA and SEM. The participants' characteristics made it possible to describe the measurement invariance of scales because of the participants' attributes. Additionally, our findings indicated that women reported high generalized anxiety, hyperactivation, and depression. Those who lost loved ones reported elevated levels of intrusion and health anxiety symptoms. Participants who reported having COVID-19 presented with high levels of generalized anxiety symptoms. Those who sought psychological care reported high levels of generalized anxiety, intrusion, hyperactivation, and health anxiety symptoms. Our findings also show that intrusion was predicted by the avoidance dimension, while health anxiety was predicted by the intrusion dimension. Generalized anxiety was predicted by the health anxiety and hyperactivation dimensions, and hyperactivation was predicted by the depression one. Depression and somatization were predicted by the health anxiety dimension. Last, numbing was predicted by the depression and avoidance dimensions. Discussion and Outlook: Our findings indicate that it was possible to validate the factor structure of posttraumatic stress symptoms and their relationship with depression, anxiety, and somatization, describing the specific bias as a function of sociodemographic COVID-19-related variables. We also describe the predictive pattern between the mental health variables. These mental health problems were identified in the community and primary health care scenarios through the CFA and the SEM, considering the PCL, depression, generalized anxiety, health anxiety, and somatization scales adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, future studies should describe the diagnosis of mental health disorders, assessing the cut-off points in the tool to discriminate between the presence and absence of conditions and mental health cut-off points. Community and primary care screening will lead to effective early interventions to reduce the mental health risks associated with the current pandemic. Limitations: Future studies should follow up on the results of this study and assess consistency with diagnoses of mental health disorders and evaluate the effect of remote psychological help. Moreover, in the future, researchers should monitor the process and the time that has elapsed between the occurrence of traumatic events and the development of posttraumatic stress and other mental health risks through brief electronic measurement tools such as those used in this study.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the delivery of care for cardiovascular diseases in Latin America. However, the effect of the pandemic on the cardiac diagnostic procedure volumes has not been quantified. OBJECTIVE: To assess (1) the impact of COVID-19 on cardiac diagnostic volumes in Latin America and (2) determine its relationship with COVID-19 case incidence and social distancing measures. METHODS: The International Atomic Energy Agency conducted a worldwide survey assessing changes in cardiac diagnostic volumes resulting from COVID-19. Cardiac diagnostic volumes were obtained from participating sites for March and April 2020 and compared to March 2019. Social distancing data were collected from Google COVID-19 community mobility reports and COVID-19 incidence per country from the Our World in Data. RESULTS: Surveys were conducted in 194 centers performing cardiac diagnostic procedures, in 19 countries in Latin America. Procedure volumes decreased 36% from March 2019 to March 2020, and 82% from March 2019 to April 2020. The greatest decreases occurred in echocardiogram stress tests (91%), exercise treadmill tests (88%), and computed tomography calcium scores (87%), with slight variations between sub-regions of Latin America. Changes in social distancing patterns (p < 0.001) were more strongly associated with volume reduction than COVID-19 incidence (p = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 was associated with a significant reduction in cardiac diagnostic procedures in Latin America, which was more related to social distancing than to the COVID-19 incidence. Better balance and timing of social distancing measures and planning to maintain access to medical care is warranted during a pandemic surge, especially in regions with high cardiovascular mortality.
FUNDAMENTO: A pandemia de COVID-19 interferiu na prestação de atendimento a doenças cardiovasculares na América Latina. No entanto, o efeito da pandemia nos volumes de procedimentos cardíacos diagnósticos ainda não foi quantificado. OBJETIVO: Avaliar (1) o impacto de COVID-19 nos volumes de diagnóstico cardíaco na América Latina e (2) determinar sua relação com a incidência de casos de COVID-19 e as medidas de distanciamento social. MÉTODOS: A International Atomic Energy Agency realizou uma pesquisa mundial avaliando mudanças nos volumes diagnósticos cardíacos decorrentes da COVID-19. Foram obtidos os volumes diagnósticos cardíacos dos locais participantes para março e abril de 2020 e comparados com março de 2019. Foram coletados dados de distanciamento social a partir dos Relatórios de mobilidade da comunidade de Google e a incidência de COVID-19 por país a partir de Our World in Data. RESULTADOS: Foram realizadas pesquisas em 194 centros que realizam procedimentos diagnósticos cardíacos, em 19 países da América Latina. Em comparação com o mês de março de 2019, os volumes dos procedimentos diagnósticos cardíacos diminuíram 36% em março de 2020 e 82% em abril de 2020.As maiores reduções ocorreram em relação aos testes de estresse ecocardiográfico (91%), testes ergométricos de esteira (88%) e escore de cálcio por tomografia computadorizada (87%), com pequenas variações entre as sub-regiões da América Latina. As mudanças em padrões de distanciamento social (p < 0,001) estavam mais fortemente associadas com a redução do volume do que a incidência de COVID-19 (p = 0,003). CONCLUSÕES: A COVID-19 foi associada a uma redução significativa de procedimentos diagnósticos cardíacos na América Latina, a qual foi mais relacionada ao distanciamento social do que ao aumento da incidência da COVID-19. São necessários melhor equilíbrio e timing de medidas de distanciamento social e planejamento para manter o acesso ao atendimento médico durante um surto pandêmico, especialmente em regiões com alta mortalidade cardiovascular.
Subject(s)COVID-19 , Heart Diseases , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Heart Diseases/epidemiology , Humans , Latin America/epidemiology , Pandemics , Surveys and Questionnaires