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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296823


BACKGROUND The aim of this multinational study was to assess the development of adverse mental health symptoms among individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 in the general population by acute infection severity up to 16 months after diagnosis. METHODS Participants consisted of 247 249 individuals from seven cohorts across six countries (Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Norway, Scotland, and Sweden) recruited from April 2020 through August 2021. We used multivariable Poisson regression to contrast symptom-prevalence of depression, anxiety, COVID-19 related distress, and poor sleep quality among individuals with and without a diagnosis of COVID-19 at entry to respective cohorts by time (0-16 months) from diagnosis. We also applied generalised estimating equations (GEE) analysis to test differences in repeated measures of mental health symptoms before and after COVID-19 diagnosis among individuals ever diagnosed with COVID-19 over time. FINDINGS A total of 9979 individuals (4%) were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the study period and presented overall with a higher symptom burden of depression (prevalence ratio [PR] 1.18, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.03-1.36) and poorer sleep quality (1.13, 1.03-1.24) but not with higher levels of symptoms of anxiety or COVID-19 related distress compared with individuals without a COVID-19 diagnosis. While the prevalence of depression and COVID-19 related distress attenuated with time, the trajectories varied significantly by COVID-19 acute infection severity. Individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 but never bedridden due to their illness were consistently at lower risks of depression and anxiety (PR 0.83, 95% CI 0.75-0.91 and 0.77, 0.63-0.94, respectively), while patients bedridden for more than 7 days were persistently at higher risks of symptoms of depression and anxiety (PR 1.61, 95% CI 1.27-2.05 and 1.43, 1.26-1.63, respectively) throughout the 16-month study period. CONCLUSION Acute infection severity is a key determinant of long-term mental morbidity among COVID-19 patients.