Adjustment disorder, traumatic stress, depression and anxiety in Poland during an early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic

Małgorzata Dragan, Piotr Grajewski, Mark Shevlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The current COVID-19 pandemic is associated with a variety of stressors. Preliminary research has demonstrated that general public are experiencing a range of psychological problems, including stress-related disturbances. However, to date, there is not much research on the prevalence of adjustment disorder during the current pandemic.

Objectives: This study aimed to assess the prevalence and severity of symptoms of adjustment disorder compared to posttraumatic symptoms, depression and generalized anxiety in a large sample of adult Poles, in the first phase of the current pandemic.

Method: Self-report data from a web-based sample (N = 1,742) was collected between March 25 and April 27, just after the introduction of nationwide quarantine measures in Poland.

Results: The current COVID-19 pandemic was a highly stressful event for 75% of participants and the strongest predictor of adjustment disorder. Increased symptoms of adjustment disorder were reported by 49%, and they were associated with female gender and not having a full-time job. However, after exclusion of co-occurring symptomatology, 14% of the sample were finally qualified as meeting diagnostic criteria of adjustment disorder. A substantial proportion of the sample screened also positive for generalized anxiety (44%) and depression (26%); the rate for presumptive PTSD diagnosis was 2.4%.

Conclusions: High rates of negative mental health outcomes were found in the Polish population in the first weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures. They indicate the intense current stress-related symptoms in the early phase of the pandemic and warrant further monitoring on population’s mental health.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2021


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