Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in Peru: Psychological distress

Carlos Ruiz-Frutos, Juan Carlos Palomino-Baldeón, Mónica Ortega-Moreno, María del Carmen Villavicencio-Guardia, Adriano Dias, João Marcos Bernardes, Juan Gómez-Salgado

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

21 Citas (Scopus)


This pandemic has been classified as a “psychological pandemic” that produces anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleep disorders. As the mental health effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, continue to unfold, there are still large knowledge gaps about the variables that predispose individuals to, or protect individuals against the disease. However, there are few publications on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of citizens in Latin American countries. In this study, the effects that COVID-19 had on citizens of Peru have been described. For this, 1699 questionnaires, collected between 2 April and 2 September 2020, were analyzed. Descriptive, bivariate analysis was performed with odds ratio (OR) calculations and a data mining methodology. Sociodemographic variables (from the General Health Questionnaire), health conditions and perception, symptoms, and variables related to contact and preventive measures regarding COVID-19 were analyzed. As compared to other countries, less affectation of mental health and increased use of preventive measures were observed. It has been suggested that the country’s precarious health system and poverty rates prior to the pandemic may justify higher mortality figures in Peru than in other Latin American countries, despite prompt action for its containment and compliance with the protective measures. Psychological distress had a greater incidence in women, young people, people without a partner, and people without university studies. The most significant conditioning variables were self-perceived health status, headache or muscle pain over the past 14 days, level of studies, and age. The extensive use of preventive measures against COVID-19 is in line with the strict legislative measures taken, and this is, in turn, in line with other countries when looking at the lower effect on mental health, but contrary when focusing on the high lethality identified. The need to include the economy or availability and quality of healthcare in future studies arises, as well as the suitability to analyze the cause for differences between countries.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo691
PublicaciónHealthcare (Switzerland)
EstadoPublicada - jun. 2021
Publicado de forma externa


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