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

Małgorzata Dragan, Piotr Grajewski, Mark Shevlin

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50 Citations (Scopus)
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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
Article number1860356
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 26 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, from the funds awarded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in the form of a subsidy for the maintenance and development of research potential in 2020 (501-D125-01-1250000 zlec.5011000218).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Adjustment Disorders - epidemiology - psychology
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders - epidemiology - psychology
  • COVID-19 - epidemiology - psychology
  • Covid-19 pandemic
  • Depression - epidemiology - psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Poland - epidemiology
  • Psychological Trauma - epidemiology - psychology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic - epidemiology - psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • adjustment disorder
  • depression
  • generalized anxiety
  • traumatic stress
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders/epidemiology
  • Poland/epidemiology
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Depression/epidemiology
  • Adjustment Disorders/epidemiology
  • Psychological Trauma/epidemiology


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