Psychological Responses of Quarantine Due to COVID-19 Pandemic in Normal and Autistic Students: A Narrative StudyAuthor(s): Mitra Joudi, Ali Reza Pezhman, Payam Khalafi and Seyyed Hamzeh Seddiq*
Background and aim: One of the effects of exposure to COVID-19 is adverse psychological and mental health, and considering that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a previous background in terms of mental health deficits; therefore, the study of the COVID-19 epidemic effect on the psychological reactions of individuals with ASD is of great importance, which is the main purpose of this study.
Materials and methods: For this purpose, all studies related to the subject from 2020-2021 by systematic search in internationally available databases including Web of Science, Science Direct, Scopus, PubMed, Google Scholar, and other databases were reviewed. Finally, 21 completely relevant studies were selected to extract the considering results.
Results: The results showed that caregivers and nurses of children with autism reported more anxiety during quarantine than children without autism. The results showed that the symptoms of depression and anxiety in response to this epidemic increased for both non-autism and autism groups. However, the incidence of these symptoms was higher for individuals with ASD. In addition, individuals with ASD showed greater concern about their pets, work, medication and food, and safety/security. In general, the results of this study showed that the increase in social isolation related to the epidemic had a severe and destructive effect on the mental health and mental well-being of autistic individuals. In addition, the COVID-19 epidemic increased stress and anxiety in parents of individuals with ASD.
Conclusion: According to the study, it can be concluded that ASD patients were more stressed and more anxious before the epidemic than normal people. Furthermore, this epidemic has a higher impact on individuals' mental health with ASD than normal people. Therefore, to maintain the mental health of autistic individuals during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is necessary to provide appropriate educational programs to reduce the psychological burden of this epidemic. In addition, health officials must provide more services and counselling for ASD individuals in this period of urgency.