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Ann Intern Med ; 175(11): 1560-1571, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2203117


BACKGROUND: To what extent the COVID-19 pandemic and its containment measures influenced mental health in the general population is still unclear. PURPOSE: To assess the trajectory of mental health symptoms during the first year of the pandemic and examine dose-response relations with characteristics of the pandemic and its containment. DATA SOURCES: Relevant articles were identified from the living evidence database of the COVID-19 Open Access Project, which indexes COVID-19-related publications from MEDLINE via PubMed, Embase via Ovid, and PsycInfo. Preprint publications were not considered. STUDY SELECTION: Longitudinal studies that reported data on the general population's mental health using validated scales and that were published before 31 March 2021 were eligible. DATA EXTRACTION: An international crowd of 109 trained reviewers screened references and extracted study characteristics, participant characteristics, and symptom scores at each timepoint. Data were also included for the following country-specific variables: days since the first case of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the stringency of governmental containment measures, and the cumulative numbers of cases and deaths. DATA SYNTHESIS: In a total of 43 studies (331 628 participants), changes in symptoms of psychological distress, sleep disturbances, and mental well-being varied substantially across studies. On average, depression and anxiety symptoms worsened in the first 2 months of the pandemic (standardized mean difference at 60 days, -0.39 [95% credible interval, -0.76 to -0.03]); thereafter, the trajectories were heterogeneous. There was a linear association of worsening depression and anxiety with increasing numbers of reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and increasing stringency in governmental measures. Gender, age, country, deprivation, inequalities, risk of bias, and study design did not modify these associations. LIMITATIONS: The certainty of the evidence was low because of the high risk of bias in included studies and the large amount of heterogeneity. Stringency measures and surges in cases were strongly correlated and changed over time. The observed associations should not be interpreted as causal relationships. CONCLUSION: Although an initial increase in average symptoms of depression and anxiety and an association between higher numbers of reported cases and more stringent measures were found, changes in mental health symptoms varied substantially across studies after the first 2 months of the pandemic. This suggests that different populations responded differently to the psychological stress generated by the pandemic and its containment measures. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: Swiss National Science Foundation. (PROSPERO: CRD42020180049).

COVID-19 , Humans , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Depression/psychology , Mental Health , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Psychiatry Res ; 315: 114702, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1914933


INTRODUCTION: During the COVID-19 pandemic various degrees of lockdown were applied by countries around the world. It is considered that such measures have an adverse effect on mental health but the relationship of measure intensity with the mental health effect has not been thoroughly studied. Here we report data from the larger COMET-G study pertaining to this question. MATERIAL AND METHODS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, data were gathered with an online questionnaire from 55,589 participants from 40 countries (64.85% females aged 35.80 ± 13.61; 34.05% males aged 34.90±13.29 and 1.10% other aged 31.64±13.15). Anxiety was measured with the STAI, depression with the CES-D and suicidality with the RASS. Distress and probable depression were identified with the use of a previously developed cut-off and algorithm respectively. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: It included the calculation of Relative Risk (RR), Factorial ANOVA and Multiple backwards stepwise linear regression analysis RESULTS: Approximately two-thirds were currently living under significant restrictions due to lockdown. For both males and females the risk to develop clinical depression correlated significantly with each and every level of increasing lockdown degree (RR 1.72 and 1.90 respectively). The combined lockdown and psychiatric history increased RR to 6.88 The overall relationship of lockdown with severity of depression, though significant was small. CONCLUSIONS: The current study is the first which reports an almost linear relationship between lockdown degree and effect in mental health. Our findings, support previous suggestions concerning the need for a proactive targeted intervention to protect mental health more specifically in vulnerable groups.

COVID-19 , Suicide , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/psychology , Communicable Disease Control , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/psychology , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics
Eur Neuropsychopharmacol ; 54: 21-40, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1466347


INTRODUCTION: There are few published empirical data on the effects of COVID-19 on mental health, and until now, there is no large international study. MATERIAL AND METHODS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, an online questionnaire gathered data from 55,589 participants from 40 countries (64.85% females aged 35.80 ± 13.61; 34.05% males aged 34.90±13.29 and 1.10% other aged 31.64±13.15). Distress and probable depression were identified with the use of a previously developed cut-off and algorithm respectively. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Descriptive statistics were calculated. Chi-square tests, multiple forward stepwise linear regression analyses and Factorial Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tested relations among variables. RESULTS: Probable depression was detected in 17.80% and distress in 16.71%. A significant percentage reported a deterioration in mental state, family dynamics and everyday lifestyle. Persons with a history of mental disorders had higher rates of current depression (31.82% vs. 13.07%). At least half of participants were accepting (at least to a moderate degree) a non-bizarre conspiracy. The highest Relative Risk (RR) to develop depression was associated with history of Bipolar disorder and self-harm/attempts (RR = 5.88). Suicidality was not increased in persons without a history of any mental disorder. Based on these results a model was developed. CONCLUSIONS: The final model revealed multiple vulnerabilities and an interplay leading from simple anxiety to probable depression and suicidality through distress. This could be of practical utility since many of these factors are modifiable. Future research and interventions should specifically focus on them.

Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/psychology , Depression/epidemiology , Mental Health , Adult , Anxiety/etiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Depression/etiology , Female , Global Burden of Disease , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress, Psychological/etiology , Suicidal Ideation