Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the prevalence of obsessive-compulsive symptoms among young adults in Peru 10.55131/jphd/2022/200211

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Galdos-Bejar Marcelo Nicolas
Belanovic Ramirez Ivana
Santander Alva Valeria
Zafra Tanaka Jessica Hanae


The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the general population to constant stressful and traumatic situations. This, added to the necessary and constant dissemination of preventive measures for COVID-19 infection, can generate an increase in the prevalence of Obsessive-Compulsive (OC) symptoms. Thus, this research aimed to evaluate the prevalence of OC symptoms and explore associated factors in young adults in Peru, the country with the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world. In this analytical cross-sectional study, an online survey distributed through social networks was used. OC symptomatology during the last week was measured by the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). Possible Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) were evaluated with the General Anxiety Disorder 7-items (GAD-7) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), respectively. 1243 young adults were evaluated. Of these, the mean age was 24.1 years, 54.3% were women, and the prevalence of OC symptoms was 50%. Participants who had experienced a traumatic event during COVID-19 pandemic had higher prevalence of OC symptoms (PR 1.54; CI 95% 1.27 – 1.85), when compared to those did not experience such events. In the same way, participants diagnosed with depression (PR 2.37; CI 95% 1.96 – 2.86) and anxiety (PR 1.11; CI 95% 1.02 – 1.21) also had a higher prevalence of OC symptoms, compared with those without depression and anxiety. In conclusion, obsessive-compulsive symptomatology has a high prevalence in young adults, and is associated with the death of a family member or close friend from the COVID-19 disease. The prevalence of possible depression and anxiety are high and are associated with higher prevalence of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. This highlights the importance of including mental health programs during the pandemic for the population who has suffered traumatic events, to be able to give them adequate follow-up and support.


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Author Biographies

Galdos-Bejar Marcelo Nicolas, Medicine School, Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (Lima, Peru), San Marcos 11 Avenue Chorrillos, 15067, Peru

Medicine School, Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (Lima, Peru), San Marcos 11 Avenue Chorrillos, 15067, Peru

Member of the scientific society of medical students of the UPC (Lima, Peru), San Marcos 11 Avenue Chorrillos, 15067, Peru

Belanovic Ramirez Ivana, Medicine School, Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (Lima, Peru), San Marcos 11 Avenue Chorrillos, 15067, Peru

Medicine School, Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (Lima, Peru), San Marcos 11 Avenue Chorrillos, 15067, Peru

Santander Alva Valeria, Medicine School, Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (Lima, Peru), San Marcos 11 Avenue Chorrillos, 15067, Peru

Medicine School, Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (Lima, Peru), San Marcos 11 Avenue Chorrillos, 15067, Peru

Member of the scientific society of medical students of the UPC (Lima, Peru), San Marcos 11 Avenue Chorrillos, 15067, Peru

Zafra Tanaka Jessica Hanae, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad Científica del Sur (Lima, Peru), Panamericana Sur 19 Villa El Salvador, 15067, Peru

Escuela de Medicina, Universidad Científica del Sur (Lima, Peru), Panamericana Sur 19 Villa El Salvador, 15067, Peru


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