As we enter the second year of this pandemic, there is a lot we have learned about the effect of continuous trauma on mental health, but also still a lot to discover. Below are a few articles from the most recent publication of the journal Traumatology on COVID-19 and mental health research that was done over the course of 2021.
You can find each of these articles here in our Resource Library under the category COVID-19 Research, as well as others previously included.
And remember, if you have a published article you would like included in our Research Library, you can submit it through this form. Articles do not need to be about disasters or crises specifically, and can include academic or news articles.
- Alpay, E. H., Kira, I. A., Shuwiekh, H. A., Ashby, J. S., Turkeli, A., & Alhuwailah, A. (2021). The effects of COVID-19 continuous traumatic stress on mental health: The case of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Traumatology, 27(4), 374-387. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000347
- This article discusses the effect of COVID-19 on refugee mental health, as an added stressor and as a continuous traumatic incident. Unlike most disasters, which rise and wane, COVID-19 has continued more or less constantly since the beginning of 2020. It poses an existential threat to life and has forced many into self-isolation and quarantine to remain safe. The authors here argue that, given the loss of community and safety that refugees already face, the impact of COVID-19 was both greater and far different than what current definitions of PTSD are prepared to address.
- Andrada, A., & Ozdemir, U. (2021). COVID 19 and subjective mental well-being: Changes throughout the crisis. Traumatology, 27(4), 444-454. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000358
- With a focus on those populations most at risk of adverse mental health affects from the pandemic, Andrada and Ozdemir conducted a survey on subjective well-being during COVID-19. They argue that the stressors of quarantine and social isolation have been particularly difficult for groups who already experience high stress due to social issues, such as the elderly, people in the lower classes, and ethnic and racial minorities in England. Tapping into the U.K. Household Longitudinal Survey, they conducted several analyses of the data to compare the short- and long-term effects COVID-19 has had on subjective well-being.
- Briguglio, M., Caruana, M., & Debono, N. (2021). Well-being disparities during the COVID-19 outbreak: Evidence from Malta. Traumatology, 27(4), 388-398. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000323
- Following the previous authors but with a focus on Malta, Briguglio et al. discuss disparities in well-being through measures of people’s assessment of their happiness and life satisfaction. Using demographics as a way to control and account for changes in well-being, Briguglio et al. gathered data from the general public to see how demographic characteristics and exposure to/concern of COVID-19 affected people’s subjective happiness and life satisfaction over the last two years.
- Burke-Garcia, A., Johnson-Turbes, A., Mitchell, E. W., Vallery Verlenden, J. M., Puddy, R., Mercado, M. C., … & Tolbert, E. (2021). How Right Now? Supporting mental health and resilience amid COVID-19. Traumatology, 27(4), 399-412. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000322
- How Right Now is a communications endeavor put on by the CDC Foundation to help people assess their emotions and seek resources for mental health help. Its aim was to help people learn better coping, adaptation, and resiliency skills during the pandemic. The initiative had a focus on four major groups: Adults over 65 years and their caregivers; adults with preexisting physical and mental health conditions; adults experiencing violence; and adults experiencing economic distress.
- In this article, Burke-Garcia et al. provide a comprehensive overview of the research process that helped develop How Right Now and the effect it actually had on its designated audience. Using a mixed-methodology of qualitative research, meta analysis of published literature, and quantitative research, the researchers gathered research on what the intended audiences learned about coping, adaptation, and resilience through How Right Now messaging.
- Fallahi, C. R., Blau, J. J., Mitchell, M. T., Rodrigues, H. A., Daigle, C. D., Heinze, A. M., … & DeLeo, L. (2021). Understanding the pandemic experience for people with a preexisting mental health disorder. Traumatology, 27(4), 471-478. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000344
- In this article, Fallahi et al. dives into the experience of those who had pre-existing mental health conditions before the pandemic began. It has been well-documented that the pandemic has caused people to develop mental health issues due to the fear, uncertainty, and social isolation we have all experienced. There has also been a lot of discussion and worry about the worsening effect the pandemic is having on people with preexisting conditions. The authors here conducted a quantitative study on how those with preexisting psychiatric conditions are doing both mentally and physically, as well as specifically how those who identify as sexual minorities have been affected.
- Ferreira, R. J. (2021). Toward equitable adaptation—Addressing climate change and COVID-19. Traumatology, 27(4), 333-335. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000377
- Ferreira discusses the ways that continually worsening climate change and the global pandemic has affected and could affect people’s mental health. The stress, anxiety, and PTSD that has been documented following natural disasters—which are only worsening with climate change—and over the course of the pandemic is only going to continue. More than that, Ferreira argues that, with the environmental changes, we are likely to see another pandemic in our lifetimes, resulting in even further disruption to daily life, social connections, and worsening mental health. Ferreira puts this forth as a call to action to address climate change and the detrimental effects it is having on both our physical and psychological well-being.
- Hernandez, J. M., Munyan, K., Kennedy, E., Kennedy, P., Shakoor, K., & Wisser, J. (2021). Traumatic stress among frontline American nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey study. Traumatology, 27(4), 413-418. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000320
- Hernandez et al. write about the effect COVID-19 has had on nurses, not just with their mental health but also their physical health and burnout. The United States has been experiencing a nurse shortage for awhile now, due to a combination of low pay, forced overtime, and low respect, and it has only gotten worse over the last two years. Using an online survey, the researchers asked nurses across the country to answer questions using the Trauma Screening Questionnaire to look at levels of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other traumatic stress markers in nurses, and what that could mean for hospitals and clinics in light of the prevalence of burnout.
- Hofmann, S. A. (2021). Racial disparities in COVID-19 anxiety and adversity. Traumatology, 27(4), 465-470. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000335
- There is a vast difference in the effects the pandemic has had on people of different races. Over the last two years, people of Asian descent have experienced a spike in hate crimes and overt racism due to COVID-19 having originated in China. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have proven to be at increased risk of infection, hospitalization, and death due to a confluence of systemic social factors out of their control. This has put a considerable strain on BIPOC people’s mental health and coping abilities. In this article, Hofmann compares a variety of pandemic experiences across different racial identities to see how the pandemic has affected each group psychologically and offer some possible ways mental health care workers can help alleviate this strain.
- Ma, R., Oakman, J. M., Zhang, M.., Zhang, X., Chen, W., & Buchanan, N. T. (2021). Lessons for mental health systems from the COVID-19 frontline: Chinese healthcare workers’ challenges, resources, resilience, and cultural considerations. Traumatology, 27(4), 432-443. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000343
- This is a qualitative research study on some of the first healthcare workers who entered Wuhan, China, following the spread (locally and globally) of the novel coronavirus. The authors were looking at how the healthcare workers maintained hope and resilience as things steadily worsened around the world, as well as ways they did and did not utilize the offered mental health resources. On a culturally level, mental health assistance is not very popular across China, something that was showcased by the fact most healthcare workers did not take up the offer of assistance. Instead, the researchers found, healthcare workers found other ways to cope—talking to family and coworkers, exercise, and depending on their sense of mission. This research provides a strong groundwork for healthcare workers across the world as the pandemic continues.
- Nuttman-Shwartz, O., & Shaul, K. (2021). Online therapy in a shared reality: The novel coronavirus as a test case. Traumatology, 27(4), 365-374. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000334
- The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a crash-course in how to work, socialize, teach, and provide healthcare via online systems. A vast majority of people and disciplines were unprepared for such a change, and struggled greatly without any proper guidance in how to conduct themselves or best practices—especially for doing so in a shared traumatic situation. Nuttman-Shwartz and Shaul address the struggles psychologists, social workers, and therapists have faced in this last year as they co-experienced trauma with their clients while also trying to figure out how to provide care online.
- Wang, X., & Park-Taylor, J. (2021). Therapists’ experiences of counseling foreign-national sex-trafficking survivors in the US and the impact of COVID-19. Traumatology, 27(4), 419-431. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000349
- This was an affect of the pandemic that has not been discussed very widely: How to provide folks from the most at-risk communities, with polytraumatic histories, with the best care online and in a shared trauma. Wang and Park-Taylor talk to several therapists who have provided care to foreign-national sex trafficking victims both before and during the pandemic to see how they have dealt with the changes, their methods of coping and resilience with their own trauma from COVID-19 as well as vicarious trauma, and any methods they have for resiliency and retaining hope.