Mothers who experienced the most dramatic lifestyle changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic are more likely to experience acute traumatic stress, according to a study from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The study, published in JAMA Network Open, began shortly after the start of the pandemic and continued through August, 2021.

People who develop acute stress disorder as a result of a traumatic event suffer from symptoms including anxiety, mood swings, dissociation or avoidance. Some acute stress disorder patients will develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

According to the study’s lead author, Tracy Bastain, PhD, MPH, associate professor of clinical population and public health sciences at the Keck School, the results show serious, long-term mental health consequences for mothers who must deal with significant financial, emotional and physical stress as the result of a public health emergency.

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