The Covid-19 pandemic could inflict long-lasting psychological trauma on an unprecedented scale, according to a study being done by researchers from Case Western Reserve University. They are looking at how the crisis is affecting Americans’ mental health and coping strategies. So far they have compiled data from more than 800 respondents and they plan to follow up six months after the initial survey.
The leader of the study is Megan Holmes, an associate professor of social work and the founding director of the Center on Trauma and Adversity at the university. I spoke with her about the findings so far. The interview has been edited and condensed.
How widespread is trauma from Covid?
When we ran the pilot data in April, we found that nearly 90 percent of respondents had one or more traumatic stress symptoms. We’re seeing that 27 percent of respondents are meeting the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis. To put this in perspective: The national estimate is normally 5.3 percent. It’s 7.6 percent for servicemen who were deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.