Background. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with a threat to somatic health and human life, poses a challenge to people’s mental health. The search for predictors of the negative consequences of the pandemic for the mental health is an urgent task for the psychological community.
Objective. to test the assumption that the psychological impact of a pandemic may be more significant for people with a potentially more severe course of the disease and an increased likelihood of death (representatives of the risk group), than that of the general population, and can be accompanied by more pronounced psychoemotional disorders.
Design. In the first two months after the introduction of restrictive measures for the COVID-19 epidemic, an online survey of the population was conducted on social networks using valid methods suitable for screening studies. We used a specially developed questionnaire and included psycho-diagnostic techniques in the “Google questionnaire” format. The study involved 449 people aged 12 to 82 years old, average age 30 years old, moda1 – 22 years old. The sample was divided into the main and control groups. The main group – the risk group – was 81 people, the size of the control group or the conventionally named “health group” – 368 people.
Results. It was revealed that the commitment to self-isolation is not associated with the respondents’ belonging to the risk group. Despite the discovered connection between belonging to the risk group and the fear of contracting coronavirus infection, psycho-emotional disorders at a statistically significant level of significance were more often diagnosed in the “health group” (45%), and 26% in the risk group. Among the members of the risk group, a high level of experience of loneliness is less common (1% versus 8% for the “health group”).
Conclusion. On the whole, the results showed a significant negative effect of the new conditions on the mental state of people. The hypothesis that people from the risk group turned out to be more susceptible to psycho-emotional distress during the period of self-isolation has not been confirmed. The most active part of the population appeared to be most vulnerable to distress. For them the current situation turned out to be frustrating to their usual needs.