Background The COVID-19 pandemic, with its uncertainties, fears of contagion, mass lockdowns and containment measures, has dramatically impacted on people’s everyday lives leading to an increased risk of mental disorders, particularly Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Despite evidence in general population and healthcare workers1,2, scant data emerged on vulnerable populations, such as of patients with chronic illness, particularly rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs)3,4, who also underwent difficulties in the management and treatment of their disorders.
Objectives To assess PTSD and post-traumatic stress symptoms in a sample of patients with RMDs, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy.
Methods PERMAS is a monocentric prospective observational study led by the Rheumatology Unit, the Psychiatric Clinic and the Institute of Management of the School of Advanced Studies. Patients with a RMD diagnosis, were consecutively enrolled from May 2021 to January 2022. During the visit, sociodemographic characteristics and psychopathological data were collected through online survey, whereas clinical data were collected by physician. The survey included the Trauma and Loss Spectrum- Self Report (TALS-SR) and the Impact of Event Scale- Revised (IES-R), aimed to assess symptomatological PTSD and post-traumatic stress symptoms related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results A total of 194 eligible patients, with a mean age of 50.3±12.17 years, was included: 142 (73.19%) were females; 112 (57.74%) patients reported connective tissue diseases (CTD), 63 (32.47%) arthritis and 19 (9.8%) vasculitis. A total of 33 (17%) subjects reported a symptomatological PTSD by means of the TALS-SR. The prevalence of Partial PTSD (defined by at least 2 out of the 4 criteria for DSM-5 diagnosis of the disorder) was 56.7%, with significant higher rates among females (90, 81.8%) with respect to males (20, 18.2%) (p=.013). Accordingly, a IES-R mean total score of 21.90 ±15.98 was found in the total sample and a gender difference emerged, with higher mean scores among females rather than males (23.42 ±16.26 vs 21.90 ±15.98, p=.031).
Conclusion The present findings point out high prevalence rates of symptomatological PTSD among patients suffering from RMDs, highlighting the potentially traumatic burden of the COVID-19 pandemic in this particular population, especially among females, suggesting the need of further investigations to address tailored prevention and intervention strategies.
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Wang XA, Duculan R, Mancuso CA. Coping Mechanisms Mitigate Psychological Stress in Patients With Rheumatologic Diseases During the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Clin Rheumatol 2021. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0000000000001757
Disclosure of Interests Giovanni Fulvio: None declared, Virginia Pedrinelli: None declared, Gianni Andreozzi: None declared, Francesca Trentin: None declared, Sara Fantasia: None declared, Silvia Fonzetti: None declared, Chiara Fustini: None declared, Mattia Da Rio: None declared, Gabriele Cappellato: None declared, Cosimo Cigolini: None declared, Davide Schilirò: None declared, Michele Maffi: None declared, Laura Scagnellato: None declared, Anastasiya Valevich: None declared, Federico Fattorini: None declared, Inmaculada Concepción Navarro García: None declared, Ilaria Palla: None declared, Valentina Lorenzoni: None declared, Andrea Gaglioti: None declared, Claudia Carmassi: None declared, Chiara Tani: None declared, Giuseppe Turchetti: None declared, Liliana Dell’Osso: None declared, Marta Mosca Speakers bureau: Lillly, Astra Zeneca, GSK, Consultant of: Lillly, Astra Zeneca, GSK
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