Objective: Limited research investigating the long-term psychological and emotional correlates of COVID-19 infection has been completed. The current study begins to address this limitation in patients experiencing Post-Acute Sequelae SARS-CoV-2 (PASC; e.g. “Long COVID”). Participants and methods: Participants were 43 consecutive neuropsychological outpatients diagnosed with PASC and who completed the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). The sample was predominantly female (n = 36) and white (n = 32). Effect sizes compared to the normative mean T scores and base rates of elevated (T > 69) scores were calculated. Results: PAI scales measuring somatic preoccupation and depression had large effect sizes and the highest base rates of scale elevations, with the mean T score at approximately the normative cutoff for clinical significance (T = 70). The Schizophrenia Thought Disorder subscale (SCZ-T) also had a large effect size and high base rate of elevation, likely reflecting cognitive concerns. Scales measuring anxiety had medium effect sizes. The other PAI scales generally had small to negligible effect sizes. There were no significant differences between hospitalized and non-hospitalized participants on the PAI. Conclusions: Overall, PAI scales measuring psychological distress, particularly somatic preoccupation and depression, were the most frequently elevated in the participants. The specific reasons for somatic preoccupation could not be determined in this study. Potential explanations include a vulnerability to distress in Long COVID patients, premorbid somatic preoccupation perhaps motivating these patients to seek clinical attention, or socioenvironmental factors leading some COVID patients to be somatically preoccupied with minor physiological changes and attribute those changes to COVID-19.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health?s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grant UL1TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health?s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of the cadre of professional psychometrists who assisted in the development of the database for this study and the clinical evaluations of these individuals, Sean Hushagen, Molly Costa, and Kent Bone. The authors also wish to thank Kathryn Eagye and the staff of the Clinical and Translational Services Center at the University of Minnesota for their assistance in developing the database.
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- Personality Assessment Inventory
- psychological functioning
- Neuropsychological Tests
- Disease Progression
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural