Psychiatric inpatients' reactions to the SARS epidemic: An Israeli survey

Iulian Iancu*, Rael Strous, Amir Poreh, Moshe Kotler, Yossi Chelben

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: The threat of the potential spreading of the SARS epidemic caused significant stress to many individuals from non-affected countries. In this study, we investigated whether the SARS threat affected the subjective mood and behavior of Israeli patients with schizophrenia and compared their reactions with those noted in their clinical staff. Methods: Subjects were evaluated with a specially designed questionnaire and a modified form of the Spielberger Scale for State Anxiety. Results: As compared to staff, patients had higher scores on the Modified Spielberger State Anxiety Scale. However, many responses (e.g., dysphoria) to the SARS threat did not differ from staff. Patients felt more protected by the authorities and some perceived the epidemic in a psychotic manner. Conclusions: It seems that patients attempt to reduce the effect of external stressors by living in an "autistic bubble" (in which outside threats cannot enter) or by denying the significance of these stressors and over-emphasizing the power of medical authorities to protect them. On the other hand, some patients also psychotically interpreted these stressors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-262+295
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005


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