Pre-print de la 1° publicación de nuestra serie de estudios sobre el impacto mental de la pandemia en el país.
The unique circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic pose serious challenges to mood stability and emotional regulation at all ages. Although many people tend to react resiliently to stress, others appear to display emotional anxiety and depression-related symptoms. In this study, we carried out a survey (N = 10,053) during the first week of the general lockdown (quarantine) in Argentina to measure early affective reactions in Argentine adults. Respondents showed substantial anxious and depressive symptoms, with 33 % and 23% of participants reporting possible depressive andanxious syndromes, respectively, with the youngest group (18 to 25 y.o.) showing the highest prevalence of symptoms. Even if prior mental health problems predisposed or aggravated the reaction, participants without prior complaints showed signs of psychological impact. Using linear regression, the most important independent variables related to depressive symptoms was the feeling of loneliness followed by daily stress. In the case of anxious states, the strongest variables were negative repetitive thinking and feeling of loneliness. Other psychological, economic, and social factors are discussed. This study is in line with previous literature that highlights the importance of the psychological impact of pandemics but additionally demonstrates that these reactions are present at a large scale immediately after the start of quarantine with very low infectious rates as an early anticipatory adaptive reaction leading to potentially negative outcomes from adjustment disorders to major disorders. In addition, the present results provide potentially relevant information about sudden environmental impacts on affective states and specific pathways for anxiety and depression to be expressed. We end by discussing implications for public policy based on considering the most vulnerable groups.