Longitudinal Distress among Brazilian University Workers during Pandemics

Murilo Ricardo Zibetti, Fernanda Barcellos Serralta, Chris Evans

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The present study aimed to examine changes in mental distress in Brazilian university workers during the pandemic. All workers ( n ≃ 1850) of an institution were invited to respond to a survey that took place in three stages, with collections in May ( n = 407), June/July ( n = 258), and August ( n = 207) 2020, and included questions on demographic, health, general and psychological support, and psychometric assessment of mental distress (Clinical Outcome Routine Evaluation- CORE-OM) combined with an open question about major concerns. The results of the Multilevel Modeling analysis pointed to the absence of significant differences across the repeated measures of distress. The only variable associated with increased psychological distress over time was a lower level of support for household chores. Qualitative analysis of the reported major concerns was carried out with a sub-sample who showed reliable deterioration in CORE-OM across time ( n = 17). The diversity of concerns reported by this group reinforced that work-life imbalance contributes to mental distress of university workers during the pandemic. Low response rate, although not unexpected due to the circumstances, limits the generalization of findings. The present data suggest that in addition to issues related to contagion and specific restricted measures to contain the spread of the disease, the personal reorganization of life required to maintain activities at home and work can be an important contributor to pandemic-related psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Psychological Distress
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Universities

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