Psychological functioning in survivors of COVID-19: Evidence from recognition of fearful facial expressions

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Abstract

Evidence about the psychological functioning in individuals who survived the COVID-19 infectious is still rare in the literature. In this paper, we investigated fearful facial expressions recognition, as a behavioural means to assess psychological functioning. From May 15th, 2020 to January 30th, 2021, we enrolled sixty Italian individuals admitted in multiple Italian COVID-19 post-intensive care units. The detection and recognition of fearful facial expressions were assessed through an experimental task grounded on an attentional mechanism (i.e., the redundant target effect). According to the results, our participants showed an altered behaviour in detecting and recognizing fearful expressions. Specifically, their performance was in disagreement with the expected behavioural effect. Our study suggested altered processing of fearful expressions in individuals who survived the COVID-19 infectious. Such a difficulty might represent a crucial sign of psychological distress and it should be addressed in tailored psychological interventions in rehabilitative settings and after discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0254438
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Adult
  • COVID-19/psychology
  • Facial Recognition/physiology
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recognition, Psychology/physiology

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