Comparison of dysfunctional attitudes, cognitive vulnerability to depression, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in healthy participants.

Publication date: Apr 04, 2024

During the COVID-19 pandemic, depression and suicide rates increased worldwide, and in Japan. Presumably, an increase of neuroticism-related personality traits mediates the relation linking the COVID-19 pandemic with depression and suicide. This study examined COVID-19 pandemic effects on dysfunctional attitudes, cognitive vulnerability to depression, in healthy participants. The study used Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS) -24 data of three subscales (i. e., achievement, dependency, and self-control) obtained from 270 Japanese medical students during October 2017 – June 2022. Participants were divided into two groups: those for whom DAS-24 was assessed before the pandemic (phase 1 group, October 2017 – March 2020, n = 178) and those for whom DAS-24 was assessed during the pandemic (phase 2 group, April 2020 – June 2022, n = 92). Total DAS-24 scores of the phase 2 group were significantly (p = 0. 047) lower than those of the phase 1 group. Scores of the dependency subscale for the phase 2 group were significantly (p = 0. 002) lower than those for the phase 1 group, but no significant difference was found in the scores of the achievement and self-control subscales. These findings suggest that a decrease in DAS-24 scores, particularly of the dependency subscale, occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Possible mechanisms underlying these results are 1) individuals became less preoccupied with receiving evaluation, 2) individuals realized that self-cognition depending on the approval of others is unimportant, and 3) high levels of dysfunctional attitude were maladaptive for obtaining affective benefits via social interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Concepts Keywords
April COVID-19
Japanese DAS-24
Pandemic Dependency
Students Dysfunctional attitude


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease MESH suicide
disease MESH neuroticism
pathway REACTOME Reproduction
disease MESH major depressive disorders
drug DRUGBANK Ethanol
disease MESH psychiatric disorder
disease VO protocol
disease MESH emergency
disease VO frequency
drug DRUGBANK Polyethylene glycol
disease MESH infectious diseases
disease MESH life stress
drug DRUGBANK Silver
disease MESH anxiety disorders
disease MESH suicidal ideation
disease VO population
disease MESH childhood trauma
disease MESH insomnia
drug DRUGBANK Tretamine
disease VO time

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