Dynamics of COVID-19’s psychological impact in the Czech Republic: Situation during spring 2020

Iva Stuchlíková, Dalibor Kučera, Tomáš Mrhálek, Eva Potužníková, Michaela Plassová


The study presents the results of a screening focused on the psychological impact associated with the outbreak and further development of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Czech population during March-May 2020. The aim of the study was to investigate temporal dynamics of psychological impact covering the first wave of the epidemic, i.e., first phases of the epidemic growth, culmination, decrease, and slow return to a normal lifestyle. The sample of 2716 respondents aged between 18 and 89 years participated in an online survey from March 18th to May 25th, 2020; part of them (typically seniors and others, who had not access to the internet) were assisted in entering the data by trained interviewers. The survey comprised questionnaires capturing emotional states, psychological disturbance, anxiety, and depression. The changes in the scores by pandemic phase (time frame) were studied for the whole sample and for gender and age groups. The results show that the threat of COVID-19 caused a significant increase in negative emotional experience and in the symptoms of psychological disturbance, anxiety, and depression in the Czech population in a time of infection culmination, even when the spread of the pandemic was well controlled, and then a gradual decline over time. The data indicated that the pandemic situation had a more pronounced impact on women and younger adults. The study also showed that in situations of pandemic stress associated with isolation, when isolated people are interviewed about their mental state, their reports on negative experiencing might be significantly reduced compared to direct anonymous self-reports data entry.



COVID-19, Czech Republic, mental health, first wave, temporal dynamics


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