Naomi Koerner Jennifer Morales-Cruz

Resumen

The unprecedented uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has been widely acknowledged. However, uncertainty and the complex psychological responses that it generates have not often been the core or centerpiece of writings on pandemic distress. In this paper, we discuss why it is crucial to understand pandemic distress reactions as a psychological response to uncertainty, in and of itself. To inform this discussion, we have drawn on writings and research on the topic of uncertainty within psychology and other disciplines (e.g., public health). We attempt to apply some of these ideas to the Puerto Rican context, where the COVID-19 pandemic has been one among many “uncertainty disasters.” The importance of autogestión in Puerto Rico is discussed.

##plugins.generic.articleMetricsGraph.articlePageHeading##

##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.details##

Keywords
References
Acevedo, N. (2021). Puerto Rico leads nation in Covid-19 vaccinations. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/puerto-rico-leads-nation-covid-19-vaccinations-white-house-says-rcna3339

Acosta, R. J., Kishore, N., Irizarry, R. A., & Buckee, C. O. (2020). Quantifying the dynamics of migration after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(51), 32772-32778. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2001671117

Akhter, N., Bambra, C., Mattheys, K., Warren, J., & Kasim, A. (2018). Inequalities in mental health and well-being in a time of austerity: Follow-up findings from the Stockton-on-Tees cohort study. SSM Population Health, 6, 75-84. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6138882/

Andrade, E. L., Barrett, N. D., Edberg, M.C., Rivera, M.I., Latinovic, L., Seeger, M.W., Goldman-Hawes, A., & Santos-Burgoa, C. (2020). Mortality reporting and rumor generation: An assessment of crisis and emergency risk communication following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research, 3(1), 15-48. https://doi.org/10.30658/jicrcr.3.1.2

Balmaceda, J. (2020). Long in Recession, Puerto Rico Needs More than Just COVID-19 Relief to Overcome its Crises. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/5-7-20econ.pdf

Benfer, E. A., Vlahov, D., Long, M. Y., Walker-Wells, E., Pottenger Jr., J. L., Gonsalves, G., & Keene, D. E. (2021). Eviction, health inequity, and the spread of COVID-19: Housing policy as a primary pandemic mitigation strategy. Journal of Urban Health, 98(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-020-00502-1

Bonilla, Y. (2020a). The coloniality of disaster: Race, empire, and the temporal logics of emergency in Puerto Rico, USA. Political Geography, 78, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102181

Bonilla, Y. (2020b). The swarm of disaster. Political Geography, 78, 1-3.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102182

Bonilla, Y., & LeBrón, M. (2019). Aftershocks of disaster: Puerto Rico before and after the storm. Haymarket Books.

Borges-Méndez, R., & Caron, C. (2019). Decolonizing resilience: The case of reconstructing the coffee region of Puerto Rico after hurricanes Irma and Maria. Journal of Extreme Events, 6(1), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1142/S2345737619400013

Biraglia, A., & Brizi, A. (2021). “Do I have enough food?” How need for cognitive closure and gender impact stockpiling and food waste during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-national study in India and the United States of America. Personality and Individual Differences, 168,1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110396

Brosschot, J.F., Verkeuil, B., & Thayer, J.F. (2018). Generalized unsafety theory of stress: Unsafe environments and conditions, and the default stress response. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(3), 2-27. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030464

Clark-Ginsberg, A., & Sayers, E. L. (2020). Communication missteps during COVID-19 hurt those already most at risk. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 28(4), 482 – 484. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5973.12304

Comas-Díaz, L., Lykes, B., & Alarcón, R.D. (1998). Ethnic conflict and the psychology of liberation in Guatemala, Peru, and Puerto Rico. American Psychologist, 53, 778 - 792. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.53.7.778

Dagdeviren, H., Donoghue, M., & Promberger, M. (2015). Resilience, hardship and social conditions. Journal of Social Policy, 45(1), 1 - 20.
https://doi.org/10.1017/S004727941500032X

del Valle, M.V., Andres, M.L., Urquijo, S., Yerro-Avincetto, M., Lopez-Morales, H., & Canet-Juric, L. (2020). Intolerance of uncertainty over COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on anxiety and depressive symptoms. Revista Interamericana de Psicologia/Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 54(2), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.30849/ripijp.v54i2.1335

Department of Health. (2021). COVID-19 en cifras en Puerto Rico. Government of Puerto Rico. https://covid19datos.salud.gov.pr

Díaz, M. (13 de mayo de 2018). Expuesta la desigualdad social. El Nuevo Día. https://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/notas/expuesta-la-desigualdad-social/

Duany, J. (2003). Nation, migration, identity: The case of Puerto Ricans. Latino Studies, 1(3), 424-444. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.lst.8600026

Durodié, B. (2020). Handling uncertainty and ambiguity in the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological Trauma. Theory, Re-search, Practice, and Policy, 12(S1), S61-S62. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000713

Ellington, S. R., Devine, O., Bertollli, J., Martinez Quiñones, A., Shapiro-Mendoza, C. K., Perez-Padilla, J., Rivera-Garcia, B., Simeone, R. M., Jamieson, D. J., Valencia-Prado, M., Gilboa, S. M., Honein, M. A., & Johansson, M. A. (2016). Estimating the number of pregnant women infected with Zika virus and expected infants with microcephaly following the Zika virus outbreak in Puerto Rico, 2016. JAMA Pediatrics, 170(10), 940 – 945. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2974

Everly, G. S., Wu, A. W., Cumpsty-Fowler, C. J., Dang, D., & Potash, J. B. (2020). Leadership principles to decrease psychological casualties in COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters of uncertainty. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 1-3. Advance online publication.
https://doi.org/10.1017/dmp.2020.395

Freeston, M., Tiplady, A., Mawn, L., Bottesi, G., & Thwaites, S. (2020). Towards a model of uncertainty distress in the context of COVID-19. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 13, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1754470X2000029X

GAO. (2018). GAO highlights. Factors contributing to the debt crisis and potential federal actions to address them. https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/691675.pdf

García, C., Rivera, F. I., García, M. A., Burgos, G., & Aranda, M. P. (2020). Contextualizing the COVID-19 era in Puerto Rico: Compounding disasters and parallel pandemics. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 76(7), e263–e267. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbaa186

García López, G.A. (2020). Reflections on disaster colonialism: Response to Yarimar Bonilla’s ‘The wait of disaster.’ Political Geography, 78, 1-4.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102170

Garriga-López, A. M. (2020). Compounded disasters: Puerto Rico confronts COVID-19 under US colonialism. Social Anthropology, 28(2), 269-270.
https://doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12821

Han, P. K. J., Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., Duarte, C. W., Knaus, M., Black, A., Scherer, A. M., & Fagerlin, A. (2018). Communi-cation of scientific uncertainty about a novel pandemic health threat: Ambiguity aversion and its mechanisms. Journal of Health Communication, 23(5), 435 - 444. https://doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2018.1461961

Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud. (2020). Índice de bienestar social.
Kesner, L., & Horácek, J. (2020). Three challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic represents for psychiatry. British Journal of Psychiatry, 217(3), 475 - 476. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2020.106

Kishore, N., Marqu.s, D., Mahmud, A., Kiang, M. V., Rodriguez, I., Fuller, A., Ebner, P., Sorensen, C., Racy, F., Lemery, J., Maas, L., Leaning, J., Irizarry, R. A., Balsari, S., & Buckee, C. O. (2018). Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The New England Journal of Medicine, 379(2), 162-170.
https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMsa1803972

Koerner, N., Mejia, T., & Kusec, A. (2017). What’s in a name? Intolerance of uncertainty, other uncertainty-relevant constructs, and their differential relations to worry and generalized anxiety disorder. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 46(2), 141 – 161. https://doi.org/10.1080/16506073.2016.1211172

Kofman, Y., & Garfin, D. R. (2020). Home is not always a haven: The domestic violence crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological Trauma, 12(1), S199 -S201. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000866

Koffman, J. (2020). Uncertainty and COVID-19: How are we to respond? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 113, 211 – 216.
https://doi.org/10.1177/0141076820930665

Kreps, S. E., & Kriner, D. L. (2020). Model uncertainty, political contestation, and public trust in science: Evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sciences Advances, 6(43), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abd4563

Linde, A.R., & Siqueira, C.E. (2018). A vida das mulheres na era do Zika: vidas controladas por mosquitos? Cadernos de Saúde Pública, 34(5), e00178917. https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311X00178917

López-Cepero, A., Cameron, S., Negrón, L. E., Colón López, V., Colón-Ramos, U., Mattei, J., Fernández-Repollet, E. & Pérez, C. M. (2021). Uncertainty and unwillingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in adults residing in Puerto Rico: Assessment of perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 17(10), 3441–3449.
https://doi.org/10.1080/21645515.2021.1938921

Ma, C., & Smith, T. (2020). Vulnerability of renters and low-income households to storm damage: Evidence from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. American Journal of Public Health, 110(2),196-202. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2019.305438

Macias, R. L., LeBrón, A., Taylor, K., & Silva, M. (2019). Después de la tormenta: Collective trauma following Hurricane Maria in a northeastern Puerto Rican community in the United States. Journal of Community Psychology, 49(1), 118-132. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22442

McCleskey, K., & Gruda, D. (2020). Risk-taking, resilience, and state anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic: A coming of (old) age story. Personality and Individual Differences, 170, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110485

Mier-y-Teran-Romero, L., Delorey, M. J., Sejvar, J. J., & Johansson, M. A. (2018). Guillain-Barré syndrome risk among individuals infected with Zika virus: A multi-country assessment. BMC Medicine, 16, 67.
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-018-1052-4

Millroth, P., & Frey, R. (2021). Fear and anxiety in the face of COVID-19: Negative dispositions towards risk and uncertainty as vulnerability factors. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 83, 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2021.102454

Naeem, F., Irfan, M., & Javed, A. (2020). Coping with COVID-19: Urgent need for building resilience through cognitive behaviour therapy. Khyber Medical University Journal, 12(1), 1-3. https://doi.org/10.35845/kmuj.2020.20194

Ortiz Torres, B. (2020). Decoloniality and community-psychology practice in Puerto Rico: Autonomous organising (autogestión) and self-determination. International Review of Psychiatry, 32(4), 359 - 364.
https://doi.org/10.1080/09540261.2020.1761776

Paredes, M. R., Apaolaza, V., Fernandez-Robin, C., Hartmann, P., & Yañez-Martinez, D. (2021). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on subjective mental well-being: The interplay of perceived threat, future anxiety and resilience. Personality and Individual Differences, 170,1-6.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110455

Pérez-Pedrogo, C., Francia-Martínez, M., & Martínez-Taboas, A. (2020). COVID-19 in Puerto Rico: Preliminary observations on social distancing and societal response toward a novel health stressor. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(5), 515–517. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000664

Perreira, K. (2017). Environmental scan of Puerto Rico’s health care infrastructure. Urban Institute.
https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/87016/2001051-environmental-scan-of-puerto-ricos-health-care-infrastructure_1.pdf

Petrocchi, S., Iannello, P., Ongaro, G., Antonietti, A., & Pravettoni, G. (2021). The interplay between risk and protective factors during the initial height of the COVID-19 crisis in Italy: The role of risk aversion and intolerance of ambiguity on distress. Current Psychology. Advance online publication, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01601-1

Rios, C. C., Ling, E.J., Rivera-Gutierrez, R., Gonzalez Sanchez, J., Bruce, J., Barry, M., & de Jesus Perez, V. (2020). Puerto Rico health system resilience after Hurricane Maria: Implications for disaster preparedness in the COVID-19 era. MedRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.09.20.20198531

Rodríguez-Díaz, C. E., Garriga-López, A., Malavé-Rivera, S. M., & Vargas-Molina, R. L. (2017). Zika virus epidemic in Puerto Rico: Health justice too long delayed. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 65, 144 – 147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2017.07.017

Rodríguez Soto, I. (2020) Mutual aid and survival as resistance in Puerto Rico. NACLA Report on the Americas, 52(3), 303-308. https://doi.org/10.1080/10714839.2020.1809099

Rodríguez-Velázquez, V. (15 de mayo de 2018). Desigualdad social empeorará estancamiento económico de Puerto Rico. Diálogo UPR. https://dialogo.upr.edu/desigualdad-social-empeorara-estancamiento-economico-de-puerto-rico/

Sánchez, R. (2020). El trauma para las familias afectadas por el terremoto de Puerto Rico continúa a miles de kilómetros de casa. Cable News Network. https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2020/01/29/el-trauma-para-las-familias-afectadas-por-el-terremoto-de-puerto-rico-continua-a-miles-de-kilometros-de-casa/#0

Sanderson, W.C., Arunagiri, V., Funk, A. P., Ginsburg, K.L., Krychiw, J. K., Limowki, A. R., Olesnycky, O.S., & Stout, Z. (2020). The nature and treatment of pandemic-related psychological distress. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 50(4) 251 – 263.
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-020-09463-7

Senanayake, N., & King, B. (2020). Geographies of uncertainty. Geoforum, 123, 129-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.07.016

Serrano-García, I. (2020). Resilience, coloniality, and sovereign acts: The role of community activism. American Journal of Community Psychology, 65(1-2), 3-12. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12415

Sweeny, K. (2018). On the experience of awaiting uncertain news. Current Direc-tions in Psychological Science, 27(4), 281-285.
http://doi.org/10.1177/0963721417754197

Toledo-Hernández, E. (13 de mayo de 2018). Plan de Ajuste Fiscal y Crisis de Acumulación en Puerto Rico. Sociedad Sinergia.

Trifilio-Martínez, M. S., Torres-Marrero, E., Pagán-Torres, O. M., & Morales-Cruz, J. (2020). Terremotos y pandemia: Retos universitarios durante el año 2020. Revista Salud y Conducta Humana, 7(1), 1-9. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/50c39c53e4b097533b3492dd/t/5fe3c8a72c56b231e6d09554/1608763562043/Editorial+Volumen+7+N+1+%282020%29.pdf

U.S. Census Bureau. (2020). Data USA: Puerto Rico.
https://embed.datausa.io/profile/geo/puerto-rico/
Cómo citar
Koerner, N., & Morales-Cruz, J. (2021). Psychological distress and the COVID-19 pandemic: The important role of uncertainty. Revista Puertorriqueña De Psicologí­a, 32(1), 34–48. Recuperado a partir de https://repsasppr.net/index.php/reps/article/view/712
Sección
Artículo de investigación