Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the general population: A systematic review.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:As a major virus outbreak in the 21st century, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented hazards to mental health globally. While psychological support is being provided to patients and healthcare workers, the general public's mental health requires significant attention as well. This systematic review aims to synthesize extant literature that reports on the effects of COVID-19 on psychological outcomes of the general population and its associated risk factors. METHODS:A systematic search was conducted on PubMed, Embase, Medline, Web of Science, and Scopus from inception to 17 May 2020 following the PRISMA guidelines. A manual search on Google Scholar was performed to identify additional relevant studies. Articles were selected based on the predetermined eligibility criteria. RESULTS:Relatively high rates of symptoms of anxiety (6.33% to 50.9%), depression (14.6% to 48.3%), post-traumatic stress disorder (7% to 53.8%), psychological distress (34.43% to 38%), and stress (8.1% to 81.9%) are reported in the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic in China, Spain, Italy, Iran, the US, Turkey, Nepal, and Denmark. Risk factors associated with distress measures include female gender, younger age group (?40 years), presence of chronic/psychiatric illnesses, unemployment, student status, and frequent exposure to social media/news concerning COVID-19. LIMITATIONS:A significant degree of heterogeneity was noted across studies. CONCLUSIONS:The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with highly significant levels of psychological distress that, in many cases, would meet the threshold for clinical relevance. Mitigating the hazardous effects of COVID-19 on mental health is an international public health priority.
Project description:The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-ranging consequences for general physical and mental health. Country-specific research reveals a general reduction in mental and physical well-being, due to measures undertaken to stop the spread of COVID-19 disease. However, research is yet to examine the impact of the pandemic on global psychological distress and its effects upon vulnerable groups. Exploration of the factors that potentially mediate the relationship between stress and mental health during this period is needed, to assist in undertaking concrete measures to mitigate psychological distress and support vulnerable groups. Therefore, this study examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on psychological distress globally, and identified factors that may exacerbate decline in mental health. N = 1653 participants (mean age 42.90 ± 13.63 years; 30.3% males) from 63 countries responded to the survey. Depression and anxiety were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire and State Trait Anxiety Inventory, respectively. Other measures included the Perceived Stress Scale, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, 3-item UCLA Loneliness Scale and the Brief Resilient Coping Scale. Globally, consistently high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and poor sleep were observed regardless of number of COVID-19 cases. Over 70% of the respondents had greater than moderate levels of stress, with 59% meeting the criteria for clinically significant anxiety and 39% reporting moderate depressive symptoms. People with a prior mental health diagnosis experienced greater psychological distress. Poor sleep, lower levels of resilience, younger age and loneliness significantly mediated the links between stress and depression, and stress and anxiety. Age-based differences revealed that younger age-groups were more vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety symptoms. Results show that these vulnerable individuals need more support. Age-specific interventions for modifiable factors that mediate the psychological distress need to urgently deployed to address the global mental health pandemic.
Project description:<i>Background</i>: The COVID-19 pandemic poses a challenge to global mental health. Loneliness and isolation may put people at higher risk for increased psychological distress. However, there is a lack of research investigating the development of COVID-19-related distress over time. <i>Materials and Methods</i>: We undertook an online survey among general population (N = 1903) in Germany throughout 6 months from the peak transmission period in April to the off-peak period by September 2020. <i>Results</i>: We found that the average prevalence of psychological distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic significantly rose from 24% to 66% between the peak and off-peak transmission period, respectively. Unemployment rate and loneliness increased negative mental health outcomes, although the number of active COVID-19 cases decreased from April to September. Psychological distress scores increased mostly in female, young, and lonely people. <i>Conclusions</i>: Our results underline the importance of considering innovative alternatives to facilitate employment opportunities, distant contacts, and self-help over the course of the pandemic. Our study highlights the urgent need to pay attention to mental health services specifically targeting female, young, unemployed, and lonely people.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The current COVID-19 pandemic comes with multiple psychological stressors due to health-related, social, economic, and individual consequences and may cause psychological distress. The aim of this study was to screen the population in Germany for negative impact on mental health in the current COVID-19 pandemic and to analyze possible risk and protective factors. METHODS:A total of 6,509 people took part in an online survey in Germany from 27 March to 6 April. The questionnaire included demographic information and ascertained psychological distress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and risk and protective factors. RESULTS:In our sample, over 50% expressed suffering from anxiety and psychological distress regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants spent several hours per day thinking about COVID-19 (M = 4.45). Psychological and social determinants showed stronger associations with anxiety regarding COVID-19 than experiences with the disease. CONCLUSIONS:The current COVID-19 pandemic does cause psychological distress, anxiety, and depression for large proportions of the general population. Strategies such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle and social contacts, acceptance of anxiety and negative emotions, fostering self-efficacy, and information on where to get medical treatment if needed, seem of help, while substance abuse and suppression of anxiety and negative emotions seem to be associated with more psychological burden.
Project description:The Moderating Roles of Psychological Flexibility and Inflexibility on the Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic and Lockdown in Italy. Preliminary data suggest the COVID-19 pandemic has adverse effects on mental health in approximately a quarter of the general population. Few prior studies have identified contextual risk factors and no published study has explored factors that might moderate their adverse effects on mental health. Psychological flexibility is the cornerstone of psychological health and resiliency. This study investigated the roles of psychological flexibility and inflexibility in moderating the effects of COVID-19 risk factors on three mental health outcomes: COVID-19 peritraumatic distress, anxiety, depression. We hypothesized that psychological flexibility would mitigate and psychological inflexibility would exacerbate the adverse effects of COVID-19 risk factors on mental health. During the Italian national lockdown (M = 39.29 days, SD = 11.26), 1035 adults (79% female, M = 37.5 years, SD = 12.3) completed an online survey. Twelve COVID-19 risk factors were identified (e.g. lockdown duration, family infected by COVID-19, increase in domestic violence and in unhealthy lifestyle behaviours) and constituted a COVID-19 Lockdown Index. As predicted, results showed that after controlling for sociodemographic variables, global psychological flexibility and four of its sub-processes (self-as context, defusion, values, committed action), mitigated the detrimental impacts of COVID-19 risk factors on mental health. In contrast and as expected, global psychological inflexibility and four of its sub-processes (lack of contact with present moment, fusion, self-as-content, lack of contact with personal values) exacerbated the detrimental impacts of COVID-19 risk factors on mental health. Findings converge with those from the broader psychological flexibility literature providing robust support for the use of ACT-based interventions to promote psychological flexibility and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project description:The acute and long-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown. The current study examined the acute mental health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in 5070 adult participants in Australia, using an online survey administered during the peak of the outbreak in Australia (27th March to 7th April 2020). Self-report questionnaires examined COVID-19 fears and behavioural responses to COVID-19, as well as the severity of psychological distress (depression, anxiety and stress), health anxiety, contamination fears, alcohol use, and physical activity. 78% of respondents reported that their mental health had worsened since the outbreak, one quarter (25.9%) were very or extremely worried about contracting COVID-19, and half (52.7%) were worried about family and friends contracting COVID-19. Uncertainty, loneliness and financial worries (50%) were common. Rates of elevated psychological distress were higher than expected, with 62%, 50%, and 64% of respondents reporting elevated depression, anxiety and stress levels respectively, and one in four reporting elevated health anxiety in the past week. Participants with self-reported history of a mental health diagnosis had significantly higher distress, health anxiety, and COVID-19 fears than those without a prior mental health diagnosis. Demographic (e.g., non-binary or different gender identity; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status), occupational (e.g., being a carer or stay at home parent), and psychological (e.g., perceived risk of contracting COVID-19) factors were associated with distress. Results revealed that precautionary behaviours (e.g., washing hands, using hand sanitiser, avoiding social events) were common, although in contrast to previous research, higher engagement in hygiene behaviours was associated with higher stress and anxiety levels. These results highlight the serious acute impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of respondents, and the need for proactive, accessible digital mental health services to address these mental health needs, particularly for those most vulnerable, including people with prior history of mental health problems. Longitudinal research is needed to explore long-term predictors of poor mental health from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project description:Background COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented health and economic impact. Psychological stress, anxiety and depression are affecting not only COVID-19 patients but also health professionals, and general population. Fear of contracting COVID-19, forced restrictive social measures, and economic hardship are causing mental trauma. Nepal is a developing country from South Asia where the COVID-19 pandemic is still evolving. This online survey has been carried out to understand impact of COVID- 19 on mental health of Nepalese community dwellers. Methods The COVID-19 Peritraumatic Distress Index (CPDI) questionnaire adapted from the Shanghai Mental Health Centre was used for online data collection from 11 April-17 May 2020. Collected data were extracted to Microsoft excel-13 and imported and analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) version-22. An initial univariate analysis was conducted for all variables to assess the distribution. Logistic regression analyses were done to estimate the odds ratios of relevant predicting variables. Results A total of 410 participants completed the self-rated questionnaires. Mean age of study participants was 34.8?±?11.7?years with male preponderance. 88.5% of the respondents were not in distress (score less than 28) while, 11% had mild to moderate distress and 0.5% had severe distress. The prevalence of distress is higher among age group >?45?years, female gender, and post-secondary education group. Health professional were more likely to get distressed. Respondents with post-secondary education had higher odds (OR?=?3.32; p?=?0.020) of developing distress as compared to respondents with secondary education or lower. Conclusion There is lower rate of psychological distress in city dwellers and people with low education. Adequate intervention and evaluation into mental health awareness, and psychosocial support focused primarily on health care workers, female and elderly individuals is necessary.
Project description:The COVID-19 pandemic has led to hardship for individuals across the globe, and research to-date has indicated a significant impact of the pandemic on mental health functioning. In order to promote psychological resilience during this time, it is important to understand modifiable targets for clinical intervention. The current study examined demographic characteristics, pandemic-related adversity, and psychological flexibility in relation to general and peritraumatic distress in a sample of United States survey respondents during May of 2020. Participants were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), N = 485. Participants completed measures of pandemic-related adversity, psychological flexibility components (openness to experience, behavioral awareness, and valued action), peritraumatic distress, and general distress. Hierarchical regression analyses examined whether demographic characteristics, pandemic-related adversity, and components of psychological flexibility were associated with general and peritraumatic distress. Results indicated that higher pandemic-related adversity, lower openness to experience, and lower behavioral awareness were significantly associated with higher general distress. Greater pandemic-related adversity, lower openness to experience, lower behavioral awareness, and higher valued action were significantly associated with higher peritraumatic distress. Adding the components of psychological flexibility to the model increased the amount of variance accounted for in both measures of distress. The results indicated that psychological flexibility components may be particularly important targets for prevention and intervention efforts in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Transdiagnostic interventions, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, that target psychological flexibility may be useful as the impact of the pandemic continues to unfold.
Project description:The COVID-19 emergency has severely affected the Italian population. During a pandemic, those with high health anxiety are at risk of adverse mental health outcomes, including peritraumatic distress and mood disturbance. No prior research has explored the role of psychological flexibility in protecting people at high risk of poorer mental health impacts due to health anxiety during a pandemic. Psychological flexibility is the cornerstone of psychological health and resiliency. According to acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), it involves behaving consistently with one's chosen values even in the presence of emotional and mental discomfort. This study examined the mediating and moderating roles of psychological flexibility in the link between trait health anxiety and three mental health outcomes: COVID-19 peritraumatic distress, anxiety, and depression. We hypothesized that higher psychological flexibility would decrease the negative impacts of trait health anxiety on mental health outcomes. During the mandatory national lockdown (M = 35.70 days, SD = 8.41), 944 Italian adults (75.5% female, M = 38.86 years, SD = 13.20) completed an online survey consisting of standardized measures of psychological flexibility, trait health anxiety, COVID-19 distress, anxiety, and depression. Results indicated that psychological flexibility did not moderate the link between trait health anxiety and mental health outcomes. Rather, greater psychological flexibility mediated decreases in the adverse effects of trait health anxiety on COVID-19 distress, anxiety, and depression. In particular, two psychological flexibility processes, observing unhelpful thoughts rather than taking them literally (defusion) and values-based action (committed action), mediated decreases in the negative effects of trait health anxiety on all mental health outcomes. In contrast, the psychological flexibility process acceptance, which involves openness to inner discomfort, mediated increases in negative mental health outcomes. Overall, the combination of these processes mitigated the detrimental impacts of trait health anxiety on mental health during the emergency mandatory COVID-19 nationwide lockdown. Consistent with the ACT conceptualization of psychological flexibility, findings suggest embracing (rather than avoiding) inner discomfort and observing associated unhelpful thoughts, while also engaging in values-based action, increases resilience during adversity. Evidenced-based large-scale online public health interventions that target psychological flexibility in those experiencing health anxiety in the context of a pandemic are urgently needed. Many empirically-based ACT interventions are suited for this purpose.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The global COVID-19 pandemic has generated major mental and psychological health problems worldwide. We conducted a meta-analysis to assess the prevalence of depression, anxiety, distress, and insomnia during the COVID-19 pandemic.<h4>Methods</h4>We searched online biomedical databases (PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Ovid, CNKI, and Wanfang Data) and preprint databases (SSRN, bioRxiv, and MedRxiv) for observational studies from January 1, 2020 to March 16, 2020 investigating the prevalence of mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.<h4>Results</h4>We retrieved 821 citations from the biomedical databases and 53 citations from the preprint databases: 66 studies with 221,970 participants were included in our meta-analysis. The overall pooled prevalence of depression, anxiety, distress, and insomnia was 31.4%, 31.9%, 41.1% and 37.9%, respectively. Noninfectious chronic disease patients, quarantined persons, and COVID-19 patients had a higher risk of depression (Q=26.73, p<0.01) and anxiety (Q=21.86, p<0.01) than other populations. The general population and non-medical staff had a lower risk of distress than other populations (Q=461.21, p< 0.01). Physicians, nurses, and non-medical staff showed a higher prevalence of insomnia (Q=196.64, p<0.01) than other populations.<h4>Limitations</h4>All included studies were from the early phase of the global pandemic. Additional meta-analyses are needed to obtain more data in all phases of the pandemic.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The COVID-19 pandemic increases the mental health problems of the global population, particularly health care workers, noninfectious chronic disease patients, COVID-19 patients, and quarantined persons. Interventions for mental health are urgently needed for preventing mental health problems.
Project description:Highlights • We examined psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the general population in South Korea where the spread of the virus has been controlled but there have been signs of population-wide distress.• An online study was conducted to investigate the relationship between mental health, social factors and demographic variables in 400 South Korean residents.• Clinical levels of depression, anxiety or stress were reported by 45% of the respondents. Elevated psychosis-risk was present in 12.8%. These represent a drastic increase above the base rate prior to the pandemic.• Loneliness, but not social network size contributed to deteriorating mental health.• The extent of the psychological distress in the general population despite successful mitigation of the pandemic is disconcerting. There is an urgent need to prepare for a potential mental illness epidemic in the near future. South Korea was able to successfully control the spread of COVID-19 without nationwide lockdowns or drastic social distancing efforts, but pandemic-related psychological outcome of the general population remains unknown. Between March and June 2020, 400 South Korean residents participated in an online study of depression, anxiety, stress, psychosis-risk and loneliness, as well as indices of social network, physical health and demographics. Clinical levels of depression, anxiety or stress were reported by 45% of the respondents, and psychosis-risk was present in 12.8%; a drastic increase above the base rate reported by previous studies conducted in South Korea prior to the pandemic. Subjective feelings of loneliness, but not the size of the social network accounted for poor mental health. Women were especially at increased risk for mental health problems. Thus, despite effective mitigation of the pandemic, there was a striking deterioration of mental health. As the psychological burden of the continuing pandemic accrues, the probability of an impending mental health crisis is increasing, especially in countries with greater infection and death rates than South Korea. Comprehensive efforts to address the psychological aftermath of the pandemic are urgently needed.