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Psychological Adjustment in Spain during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Positive and Negative Mental Health Outcomes in the General Population

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 February 2021

Carmen Valiente*
Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
Alba Contreras
Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
Vanesa Peinado
Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
Almudena Trucharte
Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
Antón P. Martínez
The University of Sheffield (UK)
Carmelo Vázquez
Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Carmen Valiente. Universidad Complutense. Facultad de Psicología. Departamento de Psicología Clínica. Campus de Somosaguas. 28223Madrid (Spain). E-mail: Phone: 34–913943136. Fax: 34–913943189.


In the midst of the COVID–19 epidemic, Spain was one of the countries with the highest number of infections and a high mortality rate. The threat of the virus and consequences of the pandemic have a discernible impact on the mental health of citizens. This study aims to (a) evaluate the levels of anxiety, depression and well-being in a large Spanish sample during the confinement, (b) identify potential predictor variables associated to experiencing both clinical levels of distress and well-being in a sample of 2,122 Spanish people. By using descriptive analyses and logistic regression results revealed high rates of depression, anxiety and well-being. Specifically, our findings revealed that high levels of anxiety about COVID–19, increased substance use and loneliness as the strongest predictors of distress, while gross annual incomes and loneliness were strongest predictors of well-being. Finding of the present study provide a better insight about psychological adjustment to a pandemic and allows us to identify which population groups are at risk of experiencing higher levels of distress and which factors contribute to greater well-being, which could help in the treatments and prevention in similar stressful and traumatic situations.

Research Article
© Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid 2021

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Conflicts of Interest: None.

Funding Statement: This work was supported, in part, by grants from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (PSI2016-74987-P and PID2019-108711GB-I00), the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (COV20/00737-CM) and the UCM Consolidated research groups (GR29/20). Two of the authors have doctoral fellowship; Almudena Trucharte had one from the UCM (CT42/18) and Vanesa Peinado from the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (BES-2017082015).


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