Objectives: This study explored two related questions: (1) the incidence of peri-traumatic distress and dissociation in a general Algerian population during the initial stages of the COVID-19 epidemic; (2) sociodemographic predictors of peri-traumatic reaction . The objective is to better understand the peri-traumatic experience in order to identify vulnerable people to whom psychological care could be offered . Materials and methods: An online descriptive survey containing three questionnaires, a demographic questionnaire, the questionnaire for peri-traumatic distress and the questionnaire for peri-traumatic dissociation experiences, was conducted using the snowball sampling technique to select 1374 Algerians .
Results: The results of this survey indicate that 32.7% of the participants present a peri-traumatic distress and 61.8% of the participants present a significant level of peri-traumatic dissociation during the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic . In addition to confinement, stress, female gender, the origin of a particularly affected department, the average economic situation and a history of psychological problems are predictors of peri-traumatic distress . Conclusion: This study provides the first empirical data on the incidence of peri-traumatic reactions (distress and dissociation), as well as their predictors in an Algerian population during the initial phases of the COVID-19 epidemic . The Algerian population has experienced levels of distress in the low range of what has been described in the literature, while the dissociation shows that the majority of the population is affected . This result demonstrates the importance of measuring the peri-traumatic reactions according to the two dimensions of distress and dissociation, and offering psychological care for the most vulnerable people, in order to prevent the risk of their possible chronicisation, and developing post-traumatic stress disorder in later periods.
Index: COVID-19, Dissociation, Distress, Trauma