Irina Zrnić - Exploring how people in Europe experience the Corona pandemic - 29.8.2022


Full title of the project: "ESTSS ADJUST Study - Stressors, coping and symptoms of adjustment disorder in the course of COVID-19 pandemic".

Team: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitte Lueger-Schuster and Irina Zrnić, MSc (University of Vienna, Faculty of Psychology) together with research teams from another 10 European countries.

Institute/Department: Department of Clinical and Health Psychology (Unit of Psychotraumatology).

Goal of the project: This pan-European project investigates long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health by assessing participants at three timepoints. The aim is to examine the relationships between risk and protective factors, stressors, and psychological adjustment during different phases of the pandemic.

Why is this important and useful? Even though the COVID-19 situation is improving and people are feeling happy about going back to "normal", the pandemic is not yet over. Especially the mental health consequences are expected to be long-lasting. Thus, it is essential to continue investigating psychological adjustment to the pandemic.

Abstract: The array of stressors related to COVID-19 pandemic and a worldwide regime of preventive measures affect people worldwide, provoking a broad range of psychological reactions. To date, these have been primarily investigated using a cross-sectional design, resulting in a lack of knowledge about psychological adjustment over time. Therefore, the present project of the European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS) aims to longitudinally assess and compare mental health impact of the pandemic in 11 European countries (Austria, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden). So far, two survey waves with more than 15,000 participants have been conducted. The third wave is currently underway. The preliminary results show an increased prevalence of adjustment disorders and some major cross-country differences in stressors, well-being, and coping strategies.

Explanation - easy to understand: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives. In this study, we want to learn what people in Europe are experiencing. We also want to find out, how people are doing and what difficulties people are having. To do this, we have asked many questions. With this study, we want to learn how we can help people.