Publications by authors named "Thomas Probst"

98 Publications

Editorial: Smart Mobile Data Collection in the Context of Neuroscience.

Front Neurosci 2021 25;15:698597. Epub 2021 May 25.

Institute of Databases and Information Systems, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2021.698597DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8185150PMC
May 2021

Provision of Psychotherapy One Year after the Beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Austria.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 May 29;18(11). Epub 2021 May 29.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, 3500 Krems, Austria.

A previous study revealed that the majority of Austrian psychotherapists switched to remote settings during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current study investigated whether this change in treatment format was maintained after one year of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 16 February until 2 April 2021, a total of 238 Austrian psychotherapists completed an online survey. They were asked about the number of patients currently treated in-person, via telephone and via the internet. Psychotherapists rated three different aspects of psychotherapy (ability to actively listen to patients, ability to understand what is going on in the patients and ability to support patients emotionally) for three different formats (in-person with facemasks, telephone and internet) separately. The results show that, after one year of the pandemic, the majority (78.4%) of patients were treated in-person (compared to 21.7% during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic; < 0.001). This change in the treatment format was accompanied by a strong increase in the total number of patients treated by 77.2% on average ( < 0.001). Psychotherapists reported no differences between in-person psychotherapy with facemasks and psychotherapy via the internet with regard to the three investigated aspects of psychotherapy, while the surveyed aspects were rated less favorably for psychotherapy conducted via telephonic communication ( < 0.05). Further studies are needed to investigate the reasons why most psychotherapists switched back to the in-person format with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115843DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8199049PMC
May 2021

A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating Integrative Psychotherapeutic Group Treatment Compared to Self-Help Groups in Functional Vertigo/Dizziness.

J Clin Med 2021 May 20;10(10). Epub 2021 May 20.

Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.

We tested the efficacy of an integrative psychotherapeutic group treatment (IPGT) in reducing vertigo/dizziness-related impairment along with depression, anxiety, and somatization by conducting a randomized controlled superiority trial comparing IPGT to self-help groups moderated by a clinical psychologist (SHG). Adult patients with functional vertigo and dizziness symptoms were randomly allocated to either the IPGT or SHG as active control group. Outcomes were assessed at baseline (t0), after treatment lasting 16 weeks (t1), and 12 months after treatment (t2). A total of 81 patients were assigned to IPGT and 78 patients were assigned to SHG. Vertigo-related impairment was reduced in both conditions (IPGT: t0-t1: d = 1.10, t0-t2: d = 1.06; SHG: t0-t1: d = 0.86, t0-t2: d = 1.29), showing the efficiency of both IPGT and SHG. Clinically relevant improvements were also obtained for depression in both groups. Linear mixed model analyses revealed no differences between groups for all outcomes (effect of group for the primary outcome: b = -1.15, SE = 2.13, t = -0.54, = 0.59). Attrition rates were higher in SHG (52.6%) than in IPGT (28.4%). Both conditions improved primary and secondary outcomes while IPGT was better accepted by patients than SHG. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier: NCT02320851.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10102215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8161006PMC
May 2021

Effective Adoption of Tablets for Psychodiagnostic Assessments in Rural Burundi: Evidence for the Usability and Validity of Mobile Technology in the Example of Differentiating Symptom Profiles in AMISOM Soldiers 1 Year After Deployment.

Front Public Health 2021 15;9:490604. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Institute of Clinical Epidemiology and Biometry, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Research on the use of mobile technology in health sciences has identified several advantages of so-called mHealth (mobile health) applications. Tablet-supported clinical assessments are becoming more and more prominent in clinical applications, even in low-income countries. The present study used tablet computers for assessments of clinical symptom profiles in a sample of Burundian AMISOM soldiers (i.e., African Union Mission to Somalia; a mission approved by the UN). The study aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of mHealth-supported assessments in field research in Burundi. The study was conducted in a resource-poor setting, in which tablet computers are predestined to gather data in an efficient and reliable manner. The overall goal was to prove the validity of the obtained data as well as the feasibility of the chosen study setting. Four hundred sixty-three soldiers of the AMISOM forces were investigated after return from a 1-year military mission in Somalia. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression were assessed. The used data-driven approach based on a latent profile analysis revealed the following four distinct groups, which are based on the soldiers' PTSD and depression symptom profiles: Class 1: moderate PTSD, Class 2: moderate depression, Class 3: low overall symptoms, and Class 4: high overall symptoms. Overall, the four identified classes of soldiers differed significantly in their PTSD and depression scores. The study clearly demonstrates that tablet-supported assessments can provide a useful application of mobile technology in large-scale studies, especially in resource-poor settings. Based on the data collected for the study at hand, it was possible to differentiate different sub-groups of soldiers with distinct symptom profiles, proving the statistical validity of the gathered data. Finally, advantages and challenges for the application of mobile technology in a resource-poor setting are outlined and discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.490604DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8083058PMC
May 2021

Mental Health during the COVID-19 Lockdown over the Christmas Period in Austria and the Effects of Sociodemographic and Lifestyle Factors.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 04 1;18(7). Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, 3500 Krems, Austria.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic a decline in mental health has been reported. This online study investigated mental health and well-being in Austria during a strict lockdown. In total, = 1505 participants were recruited between 23 December 2020 and 4 January 2021 and levels of depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), sleep quality (ISI), well-being (WHO-5), quality of life (WHO-QOL) and stress (PSS-10) were measured. 26% scored above the cut-off for moderate depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 ≥ 10; ♀ = 32%; ♂ = 21%), 23% above the cut-off for moderate anxiety (GAF-7 ≥ 10; ♀ = 29%; ♂ = 17%) and 18% above the cut-off for moderate insomnia (ISI ≥ 15; ♀ = 21%; ♂ = 16%). Mean-scores for quality of life (psychological WHO-QOL) were 68.89, for well-being (WHO-5) 14.34, and for stress (PSS-10) 16.42. The youngest age group (18-24) was most burdened and showed significantly more mental health symptoms compared with the oldest age group (65+) in depressive symptoms (50% vs. 12%), anxiety symptoms (35% vs. 10%), and insomnia (25% vs. 11%, all -values < 0.05). Mental health decreased compared to both the first lockdown earlier in 2020 and pre-pandemic data. Further analyses indicate these findings were especially apparent for the under 24-year-olds, women, single/separated people, low incomes and those who do not partake in any physical activity (all -values < 0.05). We highlight the need for ongoing mental health support, particularly to the most burdened groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073679DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8036255PMC
April 2021

Comparing Mental Health During the COVID-19 Lockdown and 6 Months After the Lockdown in Austria: A Longitudinal Study.

Front Psychiatry 2021 30;12:625973. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria.

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has repeatedly been reported to impair mental health. This longitudinal study evaluated mental health at the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic (t1) and 6 months later (t2) in Austria. Indicators of mental health were depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), sleep quality (ISI), perceived stress (PSS-10), as well as quality of life (WHO-QOL BREF) and well-being (WHO-5). In total, = 437 individuals participated in both surveys (52.9% women). The number of participants with clinically relevant depressive, anxiety, or insomnia symptoms did not differ statistically significantly between t1 and t2 ( ≥ 0.48). The prevalence of moderate or severe (clinically relevant) (1) depressive symptoms changed from 18.3% to 19.7% ( = 0.48), (2) anxiety symptoms from 16.5 to 15.6% ( = 0.67), and insomnia from 14.6 to 15.6% ( = 0.69) from t1 to t2. Bonferroni-corrected -tests showed that the stress level (PSS-10) decreased, and well-being (WHO-5) increased. However, effect sizes do not seem to be clinically relevant (Cohen's < 0.2). Results suggest that detrimental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic persisted several months after its outbreak and the end of the lockdown measures, respectively. Regarding well-being and stress, there is a slight trend toward improvement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.625973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8042148PMC
March 2021

Reasons for Discontinuing Active Participation on the Internet Forum Tinnitus Talk: Mixed Methods Citizen Science Study.

JMIR Form Res 2021 Apr 8;5(4):e21444. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria.

Background: Tinnitus Talk is a nonprofit online self-help forum. Asking inactive users about their reasons for discontinued usage of health-related online platforms such as Tinnitus Talk is important for quality assurance.

Objective: The aim of this study was to explore reasons for discontinued use of Tinnitus Talk, and their associations to the perceptions of Tinnitus Talk and the age of users who ceased logging on to the platform.

Methods: Initially, 13,745 users that did not use Tinnitus Talk within the previous 2 months were contacted and the response rate was 20.47% (n=2814). After dataset filtering, a total of 2172 past members of Tinnitus Talk were included in the analyses. Nine predefined reasons for discontinued usage of Tinnitus Talk were included in the survey as well as one open question. Moreover, there were 14 predefined questions focusing on perception of Tinnitus Talk (usefulness, content, community, and quality of members' posts). Mixed methods analyses were performed. Frequencies and correlation coefficients were calculated for quantitative data, and grounded theory methodology was utilized for exploration of the qualitative data.

Results: Quantitative analysis revealed reasons for discontinued use of Tinnitus Talk as well as associations of these reasons with perceptions of Tinnitus Talk and age. Among the eight predefined reasons for discontinued use of Tinnitus Talk, the most frequently reported was not finding the information they were looking for (451/2695, 16.7%). Overall, the highest rated perception of Tinnitus Talk was content-related ease of understanding (mean 3.9, SD 0.64). A high number (nearly 40%) of participants provided additional free text explaining why they discontinued use. Qualitative analyses identified a total of 1654 specific reasons, more than 93% of which (n=1544) could be inductively coded. The coding system consisted of 33 thematically labeled codes clustered into 10 categories. The most frequent additional reason for discontinuing use was thinking that there is no cure or help for tinnitus symptoms (375/1544, 24.3%). Significant correlations (P<.001) were observed between reasons for discontinued usage and perception of Tinnitus Talk. Several reasons for discontinued usage were associated with the examined dimensions of perception of Tinnitus Talk (usefulness, content, community, as well as quality of members' posts). Moreover, significant correlations (P<.001) between age and reasons for discontinued use were found. Older age was associated with no longer using Tinnitus Talk because of not finding what they were looking for. In addition, older participants had a generally less positive perception of Tinnitus Talk than younger participants (P<.001).

Conclusions: This study contributes to understanding the reasons for discontinued usage of online self-help platforms, which are typically only reported according to the dropout rates. Furthermore, specific groups of users who did not benefit from Tinnitus Talk were identified, and several practical implications for improvement of the structure, content, and goals of Tinnitus Talk were suggested.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/21444DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8063098PMC
April 2021

Associations between Relationship Quality and Mental Health during COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 03 11;18(6). Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, 3500 Krems an der Donau, Austria.

This study investigated the association of relationship quality with several well-being measures during the COVID-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom. An online survey was conducted on a study sample ( = 682) measuring relationship quality with the Quality of Marriage Index, and well-being measures including quality of life (WHO-QoL BREF), well-being (WHO-5), perceived stress (PSS-10), depressive (PHQ-9), and anxiety (GAD-7) symptoms. Good relationship quality goes along with higher scores in well-being (WHO-5), quality of life (WHO-QoL BREF), psychological domain, physical health, social relationships, environment, and reduced scores in stress (PSS-10), depressive (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-7) symptoms compared with poor relationship quality ( < 0.001). Moreover, 21% of participants living in relationships with poor quality stated that they drink significantly more alcohol since the initial COVID-19 restrictions, compared to 10% of participants with good quality ( = 0.002). Living in a good relationship seems to be an advantage, whereas those with poor relationship quality are particularly more burdened and drink significantly more alcohol during the COVID-19 lockdown.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18062869DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999639PMC
March 2021

Telephone Emergency Service 142 (TelefonSeelsorge) during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Cross-Sectional Survey among Counselors in Austria.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 02 24;18(5). Epub 2021 Feb 24.

ABILE-Viktor Frankl Education Austria, 3390 Melk, Austria.

Telephone emergency services play an important role in providing low-threshold, anonymous crisis intervention free of cost. The current study aims to examine the mental well-being and perceived stress level of counselors as well as the main topics of helpline callers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria. In the current study, 374 counselors were recruited within the Austrian nationwide organization TelefonSeelsorge during the second wave of COVID-19 infection in Austria. The mental well-being (WHO-5) and perceived stress-level (PSS-10) were assessed and counselors were asked about the frequency of different topics thematized by callers and changes compared to pre-pandemic times. Compared to a reference group of the Austrian general population, counselors experienced less stress (13.22 vs. 16.42) and higher mental well-being (66.26 vs. 57.36; < 0.001). The most frequent topics during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria were loneliness and mental health. More calls were registered in 2020 compared to 2019 and especially the topics loneliness, mental health, professional activities and relationships were reported to be thematized more often during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the time before ( < 0.001). The results contribute to an understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on telephone crisis intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052228DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7967694PMC
February 2021

Second-generation antidepressants for treatment of seasonal affective disorder.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021 03 4;3:CD008591. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Cochrane Austria, Department for Evidence-based Medicine and Evaluation, Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria.

Background: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a seasonal pattern of recurrent depressive episodes that is often treated with second-generation antidepressants (SGAs), light therapy, or psychotherapy.

Objectives: To assess the efficacy and safety of second-generation antidepressants (SGAs) for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in adults in comparison with placebo, light therapy, other SGAs, or psychotherapy.

Search Methods: This is an update of an earlier review first published in 2011. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2020, Issue 1) in the Cochrane Library (all years), Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO (2011 to January 2020), together with the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Controlled Trials Register (CCMDCTR) (all available years), for reports of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). We hand searched the reference lists of all included studies and other systematic reviews. We searched ClinicalTrials.gov for unpublished/ongoing trials. We ran a separate update search for reports of adverse events in the Ovid databases.  SELECTION CRITERIA: For efficacy we included RCTs of SGAs compared with other SGAs, placebo, light therapy, or psychotherapy in adult participants with SAD. For adverse events we also included non-randomised studies.

Data Collection And Analysis: Two review authors independently screened abstracts and full-text publications against the inclusion criteria. Data extraction and 'Risk of bias' assessment were conducted individually. We pooled data for meta-analysis where the participant groups were similar, and the studies assessed the same treatments with the same comparator and had similar definitions of outcome measures over a similar duration of treatment.

Main Results: In this update we identified no new RCT on the effectiveness of SGAs in SAD patients. We included 2 additional single-arm observational studies that reported on adverse events of SGAs.  For efficacy we included three RCTs of between five and eight weeks' duration with a total of 204 participants. For adverse events we included two RCTs and five observational (non-randomised) studies of five to eight weeks' duration with a total of 249 participants. All participants met the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria for SAD. The average age ranged from 34 to 42 years, and the majority of participants were female (66% to 100%). Results from one trial with 68 participants showed that fluoxetine (20/36) was numerically superior to placebo (11/32) in achieving clinical response; however, the confidence interval (CI) included both a potential benefit as well as no benefit of fluoxetine (risk ratio (RR) 1.62, 95% CI 0.92 to 2.83, very low-certainty evidence). The number of adverse events was similar in both groups (very low-certainty evidence). Two trials involving a total of 136 participants compared fluoxetine versus light therapy. Meta-analysis showed fluoxetine and light therapy to be approximately equal in treating seasonal depression: RR of response 0.98 (95% CI 0.77 to 1.24, low-certainty evidence), RR of remission 0.81 (95% CI 0.39 to 1.71, very low-certainty evidence). The number of adverse events was similar in both groups (low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any eligible study comparing SGA with another SGA or with psychotherapy. Two RCTs and five non-randomised studies reported adverse event data on a total of 249 participants who received bupropion, fluoxetine, escitalopram, duloxetine, nefazodone, reboxetine, light therapy, or placebo. We were only able to obtain crude rates of adverse events, therefore caution is advised regarding interpretation of this information. Between 0% and 100% of participants who received an SGA suffered an adverse event, and between 0% and 25% of participants withdrew from the study due to adverse events.

Authors' Conclusions: Evidence for the effectiveness of SGAs is limited to one small trial of fluoxetine compared with placebo showing a non-significant effect in favour of fluoxetine, and two small trials comparing fluoxetine against light therapy suggesting equivalence between the two interventions. The lack of available evidence precluded us from drawing any overall conclusions on the use of SGAs for SAD. Further, larger RCTs are required to expand and strengthen the evidence base on this topic, and should also include comparisons with psychotherapy and other SGAs. Data on adverse events were sparse, and a comparative analysis was not possible. The data we obtained on adverse events is therefore not robust, and our confidence in the data is limited. Overall, up to 25% of participants treated with SGAs for SAD withdrew from the study early due to adverse events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD008591.pub3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8092631PMC
March 2021

Severe Mental Health Symptoms during COVID-19: A Comparison of the United Kingdom and Austria.

Healthcare (Basel) 2021 Feb 9;9(2). Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, 3500 Krems an der Donau, Austria.

This study evaluated severe psychological symptoms in the United Kingdom and Austria after four weeks of lockdown due to COVID-19. Two cross-sectional online surveys were performed with representative population samples according to age, gender, region, and education. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), anxiety symptoms with the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7), and insomnia symptoms with the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI). The sample size was 1005 for Austria (52% women) and 1006 (54% women) for the UK. In total, 3.2% of the Austrian sample and 12.1% of the UK sample had severe depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 ≥ 20 points; χ(1) = 57.24; < 0.001), 6.0% in Austria vs. 18.9% in the UK had severe anxiety symptoms (GAD-7 ≥ 15 points; χ(1) = 76.17; < 0.001), and 2.2% in Austria and 7.3% in the UK had severe insomnia (ISI; ≥22 points; χ(1) = 28.89; < 0.001). The prevalence of severe depressive, anxiety or insomnia symptoms was around three times higher in the UK than in Austria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9020191DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916211PMC
February 2021

Stress, depression, and the therapeutic alliance as mediators on the outcome of brief psychodynamic-interpersonal psychotherapy for multisomatoform disorder.

Psychother Res 2021 Feb 8:1-10. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria.

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify and explore mediators of psychodynamic-interpersonal psychotherapy (PIT) on treatment outcome in multisomatoform disorders (MSD).

Methods: Data from 164 patients with MSD who took part in a randomized control trial of PIT (= 88) vs. enhanced medical care (EMC; = 76) were re-analyzed. A parallel mediation analysis was performed to investigate whether the beneficial effect of PIT vs. EMC on physical quality of life (physical component summary (PCS) of the SF-36 Health Survey) nine months post-treatment is mediated by post-treatment scores of stress, depression, and therapeutic alliance. The potential mediators were operationalized with the Helping Alliance Questionnaire (HAQ; therapeutic alliance), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-stress module (perceived stress) and the PHQ-depression module (PHQ-9; depression).

Results: Stress partially mediated the effect of PIT vs. EMC on the follow-up outcome. PIT (as compared to EMC) led to lower post-treatment stress-levels, which in turn led to higher physical quality of life at follow-up. Neither depression nor the alliance had a mediating effect.

Conclusions: Stress mediated the outcome of PIT for MSD. Future studies are needed to extend the scope of research regarding which specific psychotherapeutic mechanisms of change are beneficial in PIT treatment of MSD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10503307.2021.1882711DOI Listing
February 2021

Psychometric qualities of the English Coping Scales of the Stress and Coping Inventory in a representative UK sample.

BMC Psychol 2021 Feb 2;9(1):23. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria.

Background: The Coping Scales of the Stress and Coping Inventory (SCI; Satow in Stress- und Coping-Inventar (SCI): Test- und Skalendokumentation. Stress and coping inventory. http://www.drsatow.de , 2012) are well-established German self-report scales measuring five coping styles: Positive Thinking, Active Coping, Social Support, Support in Faith, and Alcohol and Cigarette Consumption. The purpose of this study was to translate the scales into English and to psychometrically evaluate this English version of the SCI coping scales with a representative sample of the UK population.

Methods: The coping scales of the SCI were forward-backward translated into English and administered to a representative sample according to age, gender, education, and region for the UK (N = 1006). Internal consistencies, factorial validity, and construct validity were assessed for both the original factor structure of the SCI, as well as a newly identified factor structure.

Results: The results for the original factor structure indicated good internal consistency and construct validity. The adaptive coping styles of this version were positively correlated with resilience and negatively with perceived stress. The maladaptive coping strategy, alcohol and cigarette consumption, showed the opposite correlations. The exploratory factor analysis (EFA) of the English version resulted in a five-factor structure, but some items loaded on different factors than in the German version. These new factors were Religious Coping, Social Support, Various Coping, Alcohol and Cigarette Consumption, and Reflective Coping. The novel factors showed similar correlations to resilience and perceived stress as the original factor structure. Only religious coping did not significantly correlate to perceived stress. Confirmatory factor analysis with the original factor structure of the German SCI coping scales revealed poor model fit for the English SCI coping scales.

Conclusion: The English SCI coping scales consistently and accurately measure five different coping styles. Nevertheless, the original factor structure of the SCI coping scales, when applied to an English-speaking sample, did not fit the data well. The new factor structure established by EFA is only preliminary and needs further validation in future large samples using the English version of the SCI coping scales.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40359-021-00528-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7851809PMC
February 2021

Coping strategies and mental health during COVID-19 lockdown.

J Ment Health 2021 Apr 27;30(2):156-163. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria.

Background: COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures changed the everyday lives of people around the world.

Aims: To evaluate the effects of different coping strategies on mental health during COVID-19 lockdown.

Methods: A representative sample for Austria was recruited through Qualtrics in a period of 4 weeks after the lockdown started. Measurements were coping inventory (SCI), psychological quality of life (WHO-QOL BREF, psychological domain), well-being (WHO-5), depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), stress (PSS-10), and insomnia (ISI). Regression analyses were performed with coping strategies as predictors and mental health measures as dependent variables.

Results: The representative sample included  = 1,005 respondents (52.7% women). Positive thinking, active stress coping and social support were found to be positive predictors for psychological life quality, well-being, and negative predictors for perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Alcohol and cigarette consumption was a negative predictor for psychological life quality, and well-being, and a positive predictor for perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Support in faith was a positive predictor for perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

Conclusions: Coping strategies are significant predictors for mental health measures. Education about positive thinking, active coping, and social support could be beneficial for dealing with a decrease in mental health due to COVID-19 pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09638237.2021.1875412DOI Listing
April 2021

Diminished well-being persists beyond the end of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2021 May-Jun;70:137-138. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2021.01.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7833457PMC
May 2021

Effects of alliance ruptures and repairs on outcomes.

Psychother Res 2021 Jan 17:1-11. Epub 2021 Jan 17.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria.

Objective: This study explored whether treatment outcomes in a trial on the Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP) vs. Supportive Psychotherapy (SP) for patients with early-onset chronic depression differ between alliance patterns.

Method: Session-to-session ratings of the therapeutic alliance (Helping Alliance Questionnaire (HAQ)) from 254 outpatients with chronic depression (CBASP: 134; SP: 120) who took part in a multicenter randomized controlled trial of CBASP vs. SP were used to categorize patients into three alliance pattern categories for the patients' and therapists' rating separately. Based on the reliable change in the HAQ from one session to the next categories were: no rupture, unrepaired rupture, rupture-repair. Depression severity (24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression) at post-treatment, at 12- and 24- months follow-up was the outcome.

Results: The alliance pattern categories for therapists and patients did not differ between CBASP and SP. Only the alliance patterns calculated for patients were associated with outcome: in the unrepaired rupture category, patients had higher HRSD-ratings across time points ( = 0.047).

Conclusions: CBASP was not associated with more or fewer ruptures or repairs as compared to SP in the treatment of chronic depression. The study highlights the need to resolve ruptures to avoid poor outcomes. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00970437.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10503307.2021.1874070DOI Listing
January 2021

Therapeutic interventions in in-person and remote psychotherapy: Survey with psychotherapists and patients experiencing in-person and remote psychotherapy during COVID-19.

Clin Psychol Psychother 2021 Jan 15. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria.

Objective: First, to investigate how psychotherapists and patients experience the change from in-person to remote psychotherapy or vice versa during COVID-19 regarding the therapeutic interventions used. Second, to explore the influence of therapeutic orientations on therapeutic interventions in in-person versus remote psychotherapy.

Method: Psychotherapists (N = 217) from Austria were recruited, who in turn recruited their patients (N = 133). The therapeutic orientation of the therapists was psychodynamic (22.6%), humanistic (46.1%), systemic (20.7%) or behavioural (10.6%). All the data were collected remotely via online surveys. Therapists and patients completed two versions of the 'Multitheoretical List of Therapeutic Interventions' (MULTI-30) (version 1: in-person; version 2: remote) to investigate differences between in-person and remote psychotherapy in the following therapeutic interventions: psychodynamic, common factors, person-centred, process-experiential, interpersonal, cognitive, behavioural and dialectical-behavioural.

Results: Therapists rated all examined therapeutic interventions as more typical for in-person than for remote psychotherapy. For patients, three therapeutic interventions (psychodynamic, process-experiential, cognitive interventions) were more typical for in-person than for remote psychotherapy after correcting for multiple testing. For two therapeutic interventions (behavioural, dialectical-behavioural), differences between the four therapeutic orientations were more consistent for in-person than for remote psychotherapy.

Conclusions: Therapeutic interventions differed between in-person and remote psychotherapy and differences between therapeutic orientations in behavioural-oriented interventions become indistinct in remote psychotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cpp.2553DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8013388PMC
January 2021

Applying Eye Movement Modeling Examples to Guide Novices' Attention in the Comprehension of Process Models.

Brain Sci 2021 Jan 7;11(1). Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Institute of Databases and Information Systems, Ulm University, 89081 Ulm, Germany.

Process models are crucial artifacts in many domains, and hence, their proper comprehension is of importance. Process models mediate a plethora of aspects that are needed to be comprehended correctly. Novices especially face difficulties in the comprehension of process models, since the correct comprehension of such models requires process modeling expertise and visual observation capabilities to interpret these models correctly. Research from other domains demonstrated that the visual observation capabilities of experts can be conveyed to novices. In order to evaluate the latter in the context of process model comprehension, this paper presents the results from ongoing research, in which gaze data from experts are used as Eye Movement Modeling Examples (EMMEs) to convey visual observation capabilities to novices. Compared to prior results, the application of EMMEs improves process model comprehension significantly for novices. Novices achieved in some cases similar performances in process model comprehension to experts. The study's insights highlight the positive effect of EMMEs on fostering the comprehension of process models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7827780PMC
January 2021

Understanding adherence to the recording of ecological momentary assessments in the example of tinnitus monitoring.

Sci Rep 2020 12 31;10(1):22459. Epub 2020 Dec 31.

Institute of Technical and Business Information Systems, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.

The recording of Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMA) can assist people with chronic diseases in monitoring their health state. However, many users quickly lose interest in their respective EMA platforms. Therefore, we studied the adherence of users of the mHealth app TRACKYOURTINNITUS (TYT). The app is used to record EMA in people with tinnitus. 1292 users, who interacted with the app between April 2014 and February 2017, were analyzed in this work. We defined "adherence" based on the dimensions of interaction duration and interaction continuity. We propose methods that are able to predict the (dis)continuation of interaction with the app and identify user segments that are characterized by similar patterns of adherence. For the prediction task we used the data of the questionnaires MiniTF and TSCHQ, which are filled in when the users enter TYT for the first time. Additionally, time series of the eight items of the daily EMA questionnaire were used. The distribution of user activity pertaining to the adherence dimension of interaction duration revealed a very skewed distribution, with most users giving up after only 1 day of interaction. However, many users returned after interrupting for some time. Some of the MiniTF items indicated that the worries of users might have lead to an increased likelihood of returning back to the app. The MiniTF score itself was not predictive, though. The answers to the TSCHQ items, in turn, pointed to user strata (more than 65 years of age at registration), which tended towards higher interaction continuity. As the registration questionnaires predicted adherence only to a limited extent, it is promising to study the activities of the users in the very first days of interaction more deeply. It turned out in this context that the effects of interaction stimulants like personalized and non-personalized tips, pointers to information sources, and mechanisms used in online treatments for tinnitus (e.g., in iCBT) should be further investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-79527-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775469PMC
December 2020

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changes the Subjective Perception of Meaning Related to Different Areas of Life in Austrian Psychotherapists and Patients.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 11 19;17(22). Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, 3500 Krems, Austria.

We assessed psychotherapists' and patients' ratings of their subjective perception of meaning related to different areas of life before the COVID-19 pandemic as compared to the time during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a quantitative cross-sectional study, Austrian psychotherapists ( = 222) were recruited by e-mail, who in turn recruited their patients ( = 139). Therapists and patients were asked to rate the meaning of different areas of life before as well as during the COVID-19 crisis. The psychotherapists showed an overall higher rating of the importance of areas of life compared to their patients ( < 0.001). The rating of the importance of the domains of living was differently affected by the COVID-19 situation ( < 0.001). While the meaning of physical and mental health during COVID-19 was rated higher than before, the opposite was observed for work ( < 0.001). No differences were found for relationships and friends, as well as for hobbies. As no interactions between perspective (therapists vs. patients), area of life, and time point (before vs. during COVID-19) were observed, it can be concluded that the COVID-19 situation changed the subjective attribution of meaning concerning different aspects of life similarly in therapists as well as patients. While mental and physical health gained subjective importance, the opposite was observed for work.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228600DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7699404PMC
November 2020

Psychotherapy via the Internet: What Programs Do Psychotherapists Use, How Well-Informed Do They Feel, and What Are Their Wishes for Continuous Education?

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 11 5;17(21). Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, 3500 Krems, Austria.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in the provision of psychotherapy around the world. The common format of delivering in-person psychotherapy is replaced by psychotherapy via the Internet to a great extent. This study examined how well Austrian psychotherapists feel informed about the use of the Internet in psychotherapy, where additional information needs exist, and which software is used. A link to an online survey was sent to all psychotherapists providing a valid email address in the official list of licensed psychotherapists at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in Austria. A total of 1547 people took part in the survey. The results show that psychotherapy via the Internet was primarily offered via Skype and Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the majority of the therapists felt well-informed about psychotherapy via the Internet; however, several therapists stated that they wish to have further information on data protection and security. Overall, the study shows that Austrian psychotherapists coped well with the rapid change from the provision of psychotherapy through personal contact to psychotherapy via the Internet. Security and data protection aspects of therapy via the Internet should be addressed in training and further education of psychotherapists. As this study was conducted online, it might have caused some respondent bias towards a higher participation of psychotherapists with higher preference for new technologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218182DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7663907PMC
November 2020

Experiences of Psychotherapists With Remote Psychotherapy During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Cross-sectional Web-Based Survey Study.

J Med Internet Res 2020 11 27;22(11):e20246. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria.

Background: The current situation around the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures necessary to fight it are creating challenges for psychotherapists, who usually treat patients face-to-face with personal contact. The pandemic is accelerating the use of remote psychotherapy (ie, psychotherapy provided via telephone or the internet). However, some psychotherapists have expressed reservations regarding remote psychotherapy. As psychotherapists are the individuals who determine the frequency of use of remote psychotherapy, the potential of enabling mental health care during the COVID-19 pandemic in line with the protective measures to fight COVID-19 can be realized only if psychotherapists are willing to use remote psychotherapy.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate the experiences of psychotherapists with remote psychotherapy in the first weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown in Austria (between March 24 and April 1, 2020).

Methods: Austrian psychotherapists were invited to take part in a web-based survey. The therapeutic orientations of the psychotherapists (behavioral, humanistic, psychodynamic, or systemic), their rating of the comparability of remote psychotherapy (web- or telephone-based) with face-to-face psychotherapy involving personal contact, and potential discrepancies between their actual experiences and previous expectations with remote psychotherapy were assessed. Data from 1162 psychotherapists practicing before and during the COVID-19 lockdown were analyzed.

Results: Psychotherapy conducted via telephone or the internet was reported to not be totally comparable to psychotherapy with personal contact (P<.001). Psychodynamic (P=.001) and humanistic (P=.005) therapists reported a higher comparability of telephone-based psychotherapy to in-person psychotherapy than behavioral therapists. Experiences with remote therapy (both web- and telephone-based) were more positive than previously expected (P<.001). Psychodynamic therapists reported more positive experiences with telephone-based psychotherapy than expected compared to behavioral (P=.03) and systemic (P=.002) therapists. In general, web-based psychotherapy was rated more positively (regarding comparability to psychotherapy with personal contact and experiences vs expectations) than telephone-based psychotherapy (P<.001); however, psychodynamic therapists reported their previous expectations to be equal to their actual experiences for both telephone- and web-based psychotherapy.

Conclusions: Psychotherapists found their experiences with remote psychotherapy (ie, web- or telephone-based psychotherapy) to be better than expected but found that this mode was not totally comparable to face-to-face psychotherapy with personal contact. Especially, behavioral therapists were found to rate telephone-based psychotherapy less favorably than therapists with other theoretical backgrounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/20246DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704121PMC
November 2020

Being a Psychotherapist in Times of the Novel Coronavirus Disease: Stress-Level, Job Anxiety, and Fear of Coronavirus Disease Infection in More Than 1,500 Psychotherapists in Austria.

Front Psychol 2020 29;11:559100. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria.

This study investigated stress-level, degree of job-related anxiety, and fear of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in psychotherapists in the early weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown in Austria. One thousand five hundred and forty-seven psychotherapists participated in an online survey, assessing stress [Perceived Stress Scale-10 (PSS-10)], work-related worries and fears of existence [Job Anxiety Scale (JAS)], fear of COVID-19 infection during face-to-face psychotherapy, and adherence to five protective measures against COVID-19 infection during face-to-face psychotherapy. Stress-levels were higher than in a representative sample ( < 0.001). When psychotherapy was the sole income, stress-level ( = 0.020) and job anxiety ( < 0.001) were higher. Experiences with teletherapy, the psychotherapy format used during COVID-19, as well as reductions in number of patients treated during COVID-19, had no effect on stress-level or job anxiety. Psychotherapists still conducting face-to-face psychotherapy during COVID-19 reported less fear of infection compared to those conducting no face-to-face psychotherapy ( < 0.001), whereby the fear of infection was further reduced when they were more able to adhere to protective measures against COVID-19 ( < 0.01). Mental hygiene is important for psychotherapists to manage stress and job-related anxiety during COVID-19, especially in those whose income relies on psychotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.559100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7550677PMC
September 2020

Psychotherapy by Telephone or Internet in Austria and Germany Which CBT Psychotherapists Rate It more Comparable to Face-to-Face Psychotherapy in Personal Contact and Have more Positive Actual Experiences Compared to Previous Expectations?

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 10 23;17(21). Epub 2020 Oct 23.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, 3500 Krems, Austria.

: COVID-19 has led to changes in the provision in mental health services. The current study investigated influencing factors on: (i) the comparability of psychotherapy via internet/telephone with psychotherapy in face-to-face contact as well as (ii) the actual experience with psychotherapy via internet/telephone compared to respective prior expectations in CBT therapists. : A quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted in the form of an online survey. The research samples, registered cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) psychotherapists in Austria and Germany, were contacted by e-mail. : One hundred and ninety CBT therapists were analyzed in this study. The total number of patients treated via telephone/internet is a decisive factor for the subjective evaluation of the comparability of psychotherapy via telephone/internet and psychotherapy in personal contact. This factor also influences the extent (positive/negative) of the assessment of the actual experience with psychotherapy via internet/telephone compared to previous expectations. Neither age nor gender were associated with comparability of psychotherapy via internet/telephone with psychotherapy in face-to-face contact or the actual experience with psychotherapy via internet/telephone compared to respective prior expectations. : Implications of the results are that attitudes towards remote psychotherapy might be increased in CBT therapists when they treat more patients remotely and experiences with remote psychotherapies should be included in psychotherapy training.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217756DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7660328PMC
October 2020

Evaluating Usability Aspects of a Mixed Reality Solution for Immersive Analytics in Industry 4.0 Scenarios.

J Vis Exp 2020 10 6(164). Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Institute of Clinical Epidemiology and Biometry, University of Würzburg;

In medicine or industry, the analysis of high-dimensional data sets is increasingly required. However, available technical solutions are often complex to use. Therefore, new approaches like immersive analytics are welcome. Immersive analytics promise to experience high-dimensional data sets in a convenient manner for various user groups and data sets. Technically, virtual-reality devices are used to enable immersive analytics. In Industry 4.0, for example, scenarios like the identification of outliers or anomalies in high-dimensional data sets are pursued goals of immersive analytics. In this context, two important questions should be addressed for any developed technical solution on immersive analytics: First, is the technical solutions being helpful or not? Second, is the bodily experience of the technical solution positive or negative? The first question aims at the general feasibility of a technical solution, while the second one aims at the wearing comfort. Extant studies and protocols, which systematically address these questions are still rare. In this work, a study protocol is presented, which mainly investigates the usability for immersive analytics in Industry 4.0 scenarios. Specifically, the protocol is based on four pillars. First, it categorizes users based on previous experiences. Second, tasks are presented, which can be used to evaluate the feasibility of the technical solution. Third, measures are presented, which quantify the learning effect of a user. Fourth, a questionnaire evaluates the stress level when performing tasks. Based on these pillars, a technical setting was implemented that uses mixed reality smartglasses to apply the study protocol. The results of the conducted study show the applicability of the protocol on the one hand and the feasibility of immersive analytics in Industry 4.0 scenarios on the other. The presented protocol includes a discussion of discovered limitations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/61349DOI Listing
October 2020

Depression in and after COVID-19 lockdown in Austria and the role of stress and loneliness in lockdown: A longitudinal study.

J Affect Disord 2020 12 13;277:962-963. Epub 2020 Sep 13.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.09.047DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7487145PMC
December 2020

Mental Health During COVID-19 Lockdown in the United Kingdom.

Psychosom Med 2021 05;83(4):328-337

From the Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health (Pieh, Budimir, Probst), Danube University Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria; Clinical Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology (Delgadillo, Barkham), University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom; and Department of Work, Organization and Society (Budimir, Fontaine), Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Objective: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and related lockdown measures have raised important questions about the impact on mental health. This study evaluated several mental health and well-being indicators in a large sample from the United Kingdom (UK) during the COVID-19 lockdown where the death rate is currently among the highest in Europe.

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey with a study sample that mirrors general population norms according to sex, age, education, and region was launched 4 weeks after lockdown measures were implemented in the UK. Measures included mental health-related quality of life (World Health Organization Quality-of-Life Brief Version psychological domain), well-being (World Health Organization Well-Being Index), depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7), perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale-10), and insomnia (Insomnia Severity Index). Analyses of variances, Bonferroni-corrected post hoc tests, and t tests were applied to examine mental health indicators across different sociodemographic groups (age, sex, employment, income, physical activity, relationship status).

Results: The sample comprised n = 1006 respondents (54% women) from all regions of the UK. Approximately 52% of respondents screened positive for a common mental disorder, and 28% screened positive for clinical insomnia. Mean scores and standard deviations were as follows: Patient Health Questionnaire-9, mean = 9.0 ± 7.7; Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, mean = 8.0 ± 6.5; Insomnia Severity Index, mean = 10.4 ± 7.0; Perceived Stress Scale-10, mean = 17.7 ± 7.9; World Health Organization Quality-of-Life Brief Version, mean = 58.6 ± 21.4; and World Health Organization Well-Being Index score, mean = 13.0 ± 6.0. Statistical analyses consistently indicated more severe mental health problems in adults younger than 35 years, women, people with no work, and people with low income (all p values < .05). Mental health indices also varied across UK regions.

Conclusions: The prevalence of depressive, anxiety, and insomnia symptoms is significantly higher in the UK relative to prepandemic epidemiological data. Further studies are needed to clarify the causes for these high rates of mental health symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000871DOI Listing
May 2021

Relationship quality and mental health during COVID-19 lockdown.

PLoS One 2020 11;15(9):e0238906. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria.

Catastrophes are known to have an impact on relationships as well as on mental health. This study evaluated differences in several mental health and well-being measures according to relationship quality during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic and related lockdown measures. A cross-sectional online survey was launched four weeks after lockdown measures were implemented in Austria. Relationship quality was measured with the Quality of Marriage Index (QMI), and mental health measures included quality of life (WHO-QOL BREF psychological domain), well-being (WHO-5), depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), stress (PSS-10), and sleep quality (ISI). ANOVAs with Bonferroni-corrected post-hoc tests and Chisquared tests were applied. In all mental health scales, individuals with good relationship quality (n = 543) scored better than individuals with poor relationship quality (n = 190) or without relationship (n = 272). The odds ratios (OR) between the poor and good relationship quality groups were 3.5 for the PHQ-9, 3.4 for the GAD-7, and 2.0 for the ISI. Additionally, individuals without no relationship scored better on all scales than individuals with poor relationship quality (all p-values < .05). Relationship quality was related to mental health during COVID-19. The prevalence of depressive symptoms increased according to relationship quality from 13% up to 35%. Relationship per se was not associated with better mental health, but the quality of the relationship was essential. Compared to no relationship, a good relationship quality was a protective factor whereas a poor relationship quality was a risk factor.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0238906PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7485771PMC
September 2020

The Effect of Environmental Stressors on Tinnitus: A Prospective Longitudinal Study on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

J Clin Med 2020 Aug 26;9(9). Epub 2020 Aug 26.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Bezirksklinikum, University of Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.

Tinnitus, the perception of sound in the absence of a corresponding sound, and the distress caused by it, is rarely a static phenomenon. It rather fluctuates over time depending on endogenous and exogenous factors. The COVID-19 pandemic is a potential environmental stressor that might influence the individually perceived tinnitus distress. Since not all people are affected by the pandemic in the same way, the situation allows one to identify environmental factors and personality traits that impact tinnitus distress differently. In our study, 122 tinnitus patients were included at two time points: in the year 2018 and during the German lockdown in April 2020. We assessed tinnitus-related distress, depressive symptoms, personality characteristics and the individual perception of the pandemic situation. On average, there was only a small increase of tinnitus distress with heterogeneous changes during the lockdown. People perceiving the situation as generally stressful with increased grief, frustration, stress and nervousness reported the worsening of tinnitus distress. People with high values in neuroticism also reported the worsening of tinnitus distress, while the personality traits extraversion, conscientiousness and openness seemed to be a protection factor. The study identifies factors that influence tinnitus distress change during a pandemic and spots those patients that need specific help in the pandemic situation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9092756DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7565885PMC
August 2020