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J Intern Med ; 291(6): 837-848, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673220


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it have substantially affected the daily lives of most of the world's population. OBJECTIVE: We describe the impact of the first COVID-19 wave and associated social restrictions on the mental health of a large adult population. METHODS: We performed a cohort study nested in a prospective randomized clinical trial, comparing responses during the first COVID-19 wave to previous responses. We calculated the odds ratio (OR) of the population moving up one severity category on validated instruments used to measure stress (PSS-10), anxiety (GAD-7), depression (PHQ-9), and Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Responses were linked to inpatient and outpatient ICD-10 codes from registries. Models were adjusted for age, sex, comorbidities, and pre-existing diagnoses of mental illness. RESULTS: Of 63,848 invited participants, 42,253 (66%) responded. The median age was 60 (inter-quartile range 53-68) and 19,032 (45%) were male. Responses during the first wave of COVID-19 did not suggest increased stress (OR 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93-1.01; p = 0.28) or anxiety (OR 1.01; 95% CI, 0.96 to 1.05; p = 0.61), but were associated with decreased depression (OR 0.89; 95% CI, 0.85-0.93, p < 0.0001) and increased satisfaction with life (OR 1.12; 95% CI, 1.08-1.16, p < 0.0001). A secondary analysis of repeated measures data showed similar results. CONCLUSIONS: Social restrictions were sufficient to contain the pandemic but did not negatively impact validated measures of mental illness or psychiatric well-being. However, responses to individual questions showed signs of fear and stress. This may represent a normal, rather than pathological, population response to a stressful situation.

COVID-19 , Adult , Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Mental Health , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies