Spotlight paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Projet Laurent
The CDTRP would like to congratulate Dr. Isabelle Doré, epidemiologist, kinesiologist and assistant professor at the School of Kinesiology and Physical Activity Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montréal and in the School of Public Health of the Université de Montréal, and Tara Zeitoun, Ph.D. Candidate in Nutritional Sciences at University of Toronto, for their recent publication entitled: “The Association between Change in Lifestyle Behaviors and Mental Health Indicators in Immunosuppressed Individuals during the COVID-19 Pandemic” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health!
This publication stems from one of the Projet Laurent sub-projects: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in immunosuppressed populations and their relatives, that is part of CDTRP Theme 5 – Restore Long-Term Health. Learn more here.
Our Communications Manager, Stéphanie Larivière, asked Tara and Isabelle a few questions about the publication that you can read below.
How did the CDTRP help to initiate this work?
The CDTRP was instrumental in initiating this sub-study of the Projet Laurent. Indeed, thanks to the CDTRP’s communication platform and network of contacts, we were able to recruit numerous participants to the study. Human resources and a lot of time were also deployed to build the questionnaires and to communicate with the participants. The Patient, Family and Donor Partnership Platform was also very helpful as many patient partners and caregivers joined the study. Finally, the CDTRP provided a showcase for the project to present progress and disseminate results.
Of all the questionnaires you reviewed, which results surprised you the most?
I think the most intriguing findings we saw were the negative effects of decreasing physical activity by just one day a week on mental health outcomes! It was really interesting to see how even a small change, like one day a week or 10 minutes of change in lifestyle behaviors, have such strong effects on mental health outcomes.
How do you think research will advance the field?
Immunosuppressed individuals are already at risk for many health conditions due to their health status- highlighting ways in which we can mitigate their mental health (which is already understudied) by lifestyle interventions is important to consider. We hope that this research will only highlight the importance of mental health in vulnerable populations, such as immunosuppressed individuals, and to prompt the importance of adequate sleep, physical activity and sedentary behavior on mental health.
Little is known on how changes in lifestyle behaviors affect mental health among immunosuppressed individuals who observed stricter physical and social distancing measures due to higher risk of complications during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study examines the association between changes in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), sedentary time (ST) and sleep duration following COVID-19 outbreak on mental health indicators of immunosuppressed individuals and their relatives. Participants (n = 132) completed an online questionnaire between May and August 2020. Linear regressions were conducted to assess the associations between an increase or decrease in lifestyle behaviors and mental health indicators. Individuals with decreased MVPA and increased ST experienced higher distress, anxiety and depressive symptoms. Those who reported an increase or decrease in sleep had higher levels of stress, distress and depressive symptoms. Decreases in sleep was associated with higher anxiety symptoms in lifestyle behaviors. In the context of a stressful life event such as the COVID-19 pandemic may impact mental health indicators of immunosuppressed individuals and their relatives.
The current findings indicate that the lifestyle behavior changes during a stressful life event, such as the COVID‐19 pandemic, were associated with negative mental health indicators in immunosuppressed populations. Assessing such a vulnerable population is crucial considering the stronger confinement requirements for such a population and their risk for health complications in stressful experiences. Future studies should investigate mental health indicators, including positive aspects such as resilience, in transplanted and immunosuppressed populations in various stressful life contexts.
Read the full paper here.