Worry and perceived risk of contagion during the COVID-19 quarantine in the Jalisco population: Preliminary Study

Jesua Iván Guzmán-González, Franco Giordano Sánchez-García, Saúl Ramírez-de los Santos, Francisco Gutiérrez-Rodríguez, David Palomino-Esparza, Ana Laura Telles-Martínez

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17711/SM.0185-3325.2020.035


Introduction. Preventive measures taken during periods of health crisis, specifically in pandemics, have consistently been associated with detrimental effects on mental health. Isolation and loneliness are indirect effects of these preventive measures. Given these premises, monitoring the behavior of the population in the face of these eventualities becomes important. Worry as an indirect measure of anxiety and stress enables one to recognize subjects who are vulnerable to phenomena of high uncertainty, since measures taken to avoid excessive contagion can have high costs for this population. This phenomenon has been consistently observed in other pandemics such as H1/N1 influenza.

Objective. To determine the prevalence of worry and perceived risk of contagion in the Guadalajara population during the COVID-19 quarantine and to identify differentiating effects.

Method. A total of 255 people from western Mexico (Guadalajara, Jalisco) voluntarily participated by answering the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) adapted to Mexican population. The average age of the respondents, aged between 18 and 70 years, was 31.71 (± 5.19). A total of 170 women and 85 men participated in the study.

Results. 40.12% of the population scored high levels of worry, making them vulnerable to mental health conditions. Subjects favored the prevention of a contagion regardless of whether they were self-isolated. The only variable that had a differential effect was sex (p < .05), and there were no differences in educational attainment, occupational demandingness, and isolation between the groups.

Discussion and conclusion. A preventive attitude was observed among the participants, and so it is important to implement strategies that will prevent mental health costs in those who express excessive worry to avoid saturating mental health services.


Pandemic; COVID; psychosocial risk; worry; anxiety

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