PHQ-9 & GAD-7 Data in a National Survey about COVID-19 Restrictions in Australia

Research paper Title

Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) and General Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) data contributed by 13,829 respondents to a national survey about COVID-19 restrictions in Australia.

Background

While the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) and General Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) are frequently used in mental health research, few studies have reported comprehensive data on these measures from population or community samples.

The aim of this study was to describe gender- and age-specific PHQ-9 and GAD-7 item and summary data contributed by those who completed this survey.

Methods

The PHQ-9 and GAD-7 were used as indicators of symptoms of depression and anxiety in a national online anonymous survey to assess the mental health of adults in Australia during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Data were analysed descriptively.

Results

Complete survey responses were contributed by 13,829 people.

For both measures, item-by-item results, summary statistics (mean, standard deviation, minimum, maximum, median and interquartile range) and prevalence of severity categories are reported for the whole sample, and disaggregated by gender and age groups.

Conclusions

These comprehensive data provide a useful point of comparison for future COVID-19-related or other research among population or community samples.

Other researchers are encouraged to report detailed PHQ-9 and GAD-7 data in the future, to enable and promote relevant between-group comparisons.

Reference

Stocker, R., Tran, T., Hammarberg, K., Nguyen, H., Rowe, H. & Fisher, J. (2021) Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) and General Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) data contributed by 13,829 respondents to a national survey about COVID-19 restrictions in Australia. Psychiatry Research. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113792. Online ahead of print.

Linking Age, COVID-19 & First Episodes Psychosis

Research Paper Title

Impact of the first Covid-19 pandemic wave on first episode psychosis in Milan, Italy.

Background

The ongoing Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic appears to increase risk for mental illness, either directly due to inflammation caused by the virus or indirectly due to related psychosocial stress, resulting in the development of both anxious-depressive and psychotic symptoms.

The purpose of the present study was to assess the frequency and characteristics of all patients with First Episodes Psychosis (FEP) without COVID-19 infection hospitalised in the first four months since lockdown in Milan.

Methods

The researchers recruited sixty-two patients hospitalised between 08 March to 08 July 2020 versus those first hospitalised in the same period in 2019.

The two subgroups were compared for sociodemographic variables and clinical characteristics of the episodes.

Results

Patients with FEP in 2020 were significantly older than patients with FEP in 2021, and presented with significantly less substances abuse.

Interestingly, patients presenting with FEP in 2020 were significantly older than patients with FEP in 2019.

Conclusions

These data are compatible with the greater vulnerability to stressful factors during the pandemic, as well as with the greater concern regarding a possible COVID-19 infection producing brain damage causing the FEP.

Reference

Esposito, C.M., D’Agostino, A., Osso, B.D., Fiorentini, A., Prunas, C., Callari, A., Oldani, L., Fontana, E., Gargano, G., Viscardi, B., Giordano, B., D’Angelo, S., Widenmann, F., Macellaro, M., Giorgetti, F., Turtulici, N., Gambini, O. & Brambilla, P. (2021) Impact of the first Covid-19 pandemic wave on first episode psychosis in Milan, Italy. Psychiatry Research. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113802. Online ahead of print.

Neighbourhood & Mental Health During Covid-19: Any Link?

Research Paper Title

Examine the associations between perceived neighbourhood conditions, physical activity, and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Background

This study examined how neighbourhood conditions changed and how neighbourhood conditions were associated with physical activity and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic among Americans.

Methods

The major outcomes were stratified by the neighbourhood’s poverty and regression models were used to assess the associations between neighbourhood conditions and their change during the pandemic and the outcomes of physical activity and mental health.

Results

The results show that low-poverty neighbourhoods had more health-promoting neighbourhood conditions before the outbreak and more positive changes during the outbreak. Health-promoting neighbourhood conditions were associated with higher physical activity and moderate physical activity and lack of negative neighbourhood conditions such as crime/violence and traffic were associated with a lower risk of mental health problems including loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Mental health problems were also significantly associated with the COVID-19 infection and death and household income level.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that it is plausible that the disparities of physical activity and mental health by neighbourhood exacerbate due to the pandemic and people who are living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods bear increasingly disproportionate burden.

Reference

Yang, Y. & Xiang, X. (2021) Examine the associations between perceived neighborhood conditions, physical activity, and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health & Place. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2021.102505. Online ahead of print.

Is a Positive COVID-19 Infection Status Associated with Higher Risk of Depression, Insomnia, & Anxiety in Medical Workers?

Research Paper Title

Prevalence of psychological disorders in the COVID-19 epidemic in China: A real world cross-sectional study.

Background

This study aimed to explore the prevalence of psychological disorders and associated factors at different stages of the COVID-19 epidemic in China.

Methods

The mental health status of respondents was assessed via the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and the Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) scale.

Results

5,657 individuals participated in this study. History of chronic disease was a common risk factor for severe present depression (OR 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.82-2.66, p < 0.001), anxiety (OR 2.41, 95% CI, 1.97-2.95, p < 0.001), and insomnia (OR 2.33, 95% CI, 1.83-2.95, p < 0.001) in the survey population. Female respondents had a higher risk of depression (OR 1.61, 95% CI, 1.39-1.87, p < 0.001) and anxiety (OR 1.35, 95% CI, 1.15-1.57, p < 0.001) than males. Among the medical workers, confirmed or suspected positive COVID-19 infection as associated with higher scores for depression (confirmed, OR 1.87; suspected, OR 4.13), anxiety (confirmed, OR 3.05; suspected, OR 3.07), and insomnia (confirmed, OR 3.46; suspected, OR 4.71).

Limitations

The cross-sectional design of present study presents inference about causality. The present psychological assessment was based on an online survey and on self-report tools, albeit using established instruments. We cannot estimate the participation rate, since we cannot know how many potential subjects received and opened the link for the survey.

Conclusions

Females, non-medical workers and those with a history of chronic diseases have had higher risks for depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Positive COVID-19 infection status was associated with higher risk of depression, insomnia, and anxiety in medical workers.

Reference

Wang, M., Zhao, Q., Hu, C., Wang, Y., Cao, J., Huang, S., Li, J., Huang, Y., Liang, Q., Guo, Z., Wang, L., Ma, L., Zhang, S., Wang, H.,m Zhu, C., Luo, W., Guo, C., Chen, C., Chen, Y., Xu, K., Yang, H., Ye., L., Wang, Q., Zhan, P., Li, G., Yang, M.J., Fang, Y., Zhu, S. & Yang, Y. (2020) Prevalence of psychological disorders in the COVID-19 epidemic in China: A real world cross-sectional study. Journal of Affective Disorders. 281, pp.312-320. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.11.118. Online ahead of print.

What is the Prevalence of Psychological Disorders in the COVID-19 Epidemic in China?

Research Paper Title

Prevalence of psychological disorders in the COVID-19 epidemic in China: A real world cross-sectional study.

Background

This study aimed to explore the prevalence of psychological disorders and associated factors at different stages of the COVID-19 epidemic in China.

Methods

The mental health status of respondents was assessed via the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and the Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) scale.

Results

5,657 individuals participated in this study. History of chronic disease was a common risk factor for severe present depression (OR 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.82-2.66, p < 0.001), anxiety (OR 2.41, 95% CI, 1.97-2.95, p < 0.001), and insomnia (OR 2.33, 95% CI, 1.83-2.95, p < 0.001) in the survey population. Female respondents had a higher risk of depression (OR 1.61, 95% CI, 1.39-1.87, p < 0.001) and anxiety (OR 1.35, 95% CI, 1.15-1.57, p < 0.001) than males. Among the medical workers, confirmed or suspected positive COVID-19 infection as associated with higher scores for depression (confirmed, OR 1.87; suspected, OR 4.13), anxiety (confirmed, OR 3.05; suspected, OR 3.07), and insomnia (confirmed, OR 3.46; suspected, OR 4.71).

Limitations

The cross-sectional design of present study presents inference about causality. The present psychological assessment was based on an online survey and on self-report tools, albeit using established instruments. The researchers cannot estimate the participation rate, since they cannot know how many potential subjects received and opened the link for the survey.

Conclusions

Females, non-medical workers and those with a history of chronic diseases have had higher risks for depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Positive COVID-19 infection status was associated with higher risk of depression, insomnia, and anxiety in medical workers.

Reference

Wang, M., Zhao, Q., Hu, C., Wang, Y., Cao, J., Huang, S., Li, J., Huang, Y., Liang, Q., Guo, Z., Wang, L., Ma, L., Zhang, S., Wang, H., Ahu, C., Luo, W., Guo, C., Chen, C., Chen, Y., Xu, K., Yang, H., Ye, L., Wang, Q., Zhan, P., Li, G., Yang, M.J., Fang, Y., Zhu, S. & Yang, Y. (2020) Prevalence of psychological disorders in the COVID-19 epidemic in China: A real world cross-sectional study. Journal of Affective Disorders. 281, pp.312-320. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.11.118. Online ahead of print.

Can a COVID-19 Contact Tracing App Improve Psychological Distress?

Research Paper Title

Downloading a government-issued COVID-19 contact tracing app may improve psychological distress in the outbreak among employed adults: a prospective study.

Background

Downloading of a COVID-19 contact tracing app may be effective in reducing anxiety about COVID-19 and psychological distress of users.

Therefore, the objective of this 2.5-month prospective study aimed to investigate the association of downloading of a COVID-19 contact tracing app, the COVID-19 Contact Confirming Application (COCOA), released by the Japanese government with fear and worry about COVID-19 and psychological distress in a sample of employed adults of Japan.

Methods

A total of 996 full-time employed respondents to an online survey on 22 to 26 May 2020 (baseline) were invited to participate in a follow-up survey on 07 to 12 August 2020 (follow-up). High level of worrying about COVID-19 and high psychological distress were defined by scores on a single-item scale and the K6 scale, respectively, both at baseline and follow-up. The app was released between the two surveys on 17 June. Participants were asked at follow-up if they downloaded the app.

Results

A total of 902 (90.6%) out of 996 baseline participants responded to the follow-up survey. Among them, 184 (20.4%) reported that they downloaded the app. Downloading of the contact tracing app was significantly negatively associated with psychological distress, but not with fear and worry about COVID-19, at follow-up after controlling for baseline variables.

Conclusions

The study provided first evidence that a COVID-19 contact tracing app may be beneficial for the mental health of employed adults using a government-issued tracing app under the COVID-19 outbreak.

Reference

Kawakami, N., Sasaki, N., Kuroda, R., Tsuno, K. & Imamura, K. (2020) Downloading a government-issued COVID-19 contact tracing app may improve psychological distress in the outbreak among employed adults: a prospective study. JMIR Mental Health. doi: 10.2196/23699. Online ahead of print.

Does Lockdown Change Health Priorities in the Local Population?

Research Paper Title

Effects of lockdown on emergency room admissions for psychiatric evaluation: an observational study from the AUSL Romagna, Italy.

Background

An observation of the admissions to the emergency room (ER) requiring psychiatric evaluation during the lockdown and investigation of the demographic and clinical variables.

Methods

Retrospective longitudinal observational study of ER accesses for psychiatric evaluation was performed, comparing two periods (09 March to 03 May 2020 vs. 09 March to 03 May 2019). Data (number of admissions, key baseline demographic and clinical variables) were extracted from the ER databases of referral centres in a well-defined geographic area of North-Eastern Italy (Cesena, Ravenna, Forlì, and Rimini).

Results

A 15% reduction of psychiatric referrals was observed, together with a 17% reduction in the total number of patients referring to the ER. This reduction was most evident in the first month of the lockdown period (almost 25% reduction of both referrals and patients). Female gender (OR: 1.52: 95%, CI: 1.12-2.06) and being a local resident (OR: 1.54: 95%CI: 1.02-2.34) were factors associated with the decrease.

Conclusions

Lockdown changed dramatically health priorities in the local population, including people with mental health. The researchers speculate that our observations do not only refer to the confinement due to the lockdown regime but also to fear of contagion and adoption of different coping strategies, especially in women. Key-points During lockdown 15% reduction of psychiatric visits and >17% reduction in the number of psychiatric patients referring to the ER was observed. in the first four weeks of the lockdown almost 25% reduction of both visits and patients was observed Female gender and being a local resident were factors associated with the decrease.

Reference

Beghi, M., Brandolini, R., Casolaro, I., Beghi, E., Cornaggia, C.M., Fraticelli, C., De Paoli, G., Ravani, C., Castelpietra, G. & Ferrari, S. (2020) Effects of lockdown on emergency room admissions for psychiatric evaluation: an observational study from the AUSL Romagna, Italy. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice. doi: 10.1080/13651501.2020.1859120.

What is the Impact of COVID-19 & Lockdown on the Mental Health of Children & Adolescents?

Research Paper Title

Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations.

Background

COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has brought about a sense of fear and anxiety around the globe. This phenomenon has led to short term as well as long term psychosocial and mental health implications for children and adolescents. The quality and magnitude of impact on minors is determined by many vulnerability factors like developmental age, educational status, pre-existing mental health condition, being economically underprivileged or being quarantined due to infection or fear of infection.

This paper is aimed at narratively reviewing various articles related to mental-health aspects of children and adolescents impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and enforcement of nationwide or regional lockdowns to prevent further spread of infection.

Methods

The researchers conducted a review and collected articles and advisories on mental health aspects of children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. They selected articles and thematically organized them.

Results

The researchers put up their major findings under the thematic areas of impact on young children, school and college going students, children and adolescents with mental health challenges, economically underprivileged children, impact due to quarantine and separation from parents and the advisories of international organisations. They have also provided recommendations to the above.

Conclusions

There is a pressing need for planning longitudinal and developmental studies, and implementing evidence based elaborative plan of action to cater to the psycho social and mental health needs of the vulnerable children and adolescents during pandemic as well as post pandemic. There is a need to ameliorate children and adolescents’ access to mental health support services geared towards providing measures for developing healthy coping mechanisms during the current crisis.

For this innovative child and adolescent mental health policies with direct and digital collaborative networks of psychiatrists, psychologists, paediatricians, and community volunteers are deemed necessary.

Reference

Singh, S., Roy, D. Sinha, K., Parveen, S., Sharma, G. & Joshi, G. (2020) Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations. Psychiatry Research. 293, pp.113429. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113429. Online ahead of print.

Book: Together Apart – The Psychology of COVID-19

Book Title:

Together Apart – The Psychology of COVID-19.

Author(s): Jolanda Jetten, Stephen D. Reicher, S. Alexander Haslam, and Tegan Cruwys.

Year: 2020.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Written by leading social psychologists with expertise in leadership, health and emergency behaviour – who have also played an important role in advising governments on COVID-19 – this book provides a broad but integrated analysis of the psychology of COVID-19

It explores the response to COVID-19 through the lens of social identity theory, drawing from insights provided by four decades of research. Starting from the premise that an effective response to the pandemic depends upon people coming together and supporting each other as members of a common community, the book helps us to understand emerging processes related to social (dis)connectedness, collective behaviour and the societal effects of COVID-19. In this it shows how psychological theory can help us better understand, and respond to, the events shaping the world in 2020.

Considering key topics such as:

  • Leadership.
  • Communication.
  • Risk perception.
  • Social isolation.
  • Mental health.
  • Inequality.
  • Misinformation.
  • Prejudice and racism.
  • Behaviour change.
  • Social Disorder.

This book offers the foundation on which future analysis, intervention and policy can be built.

What is the Impact of COVID-19 & Lockdown on the Mental Health of Children & Adolescents?

Research Paper Title

Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations.

Background

COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has brought about a sense of fear and anxiety around the globe. This phenomenon has led to short term as well as long term psychosocial and mental health implications for children and adolescents.

The quality and magnitude of impact on minors is determined by many vulnerability factors like developmental age, educational status, pre-existing mental health condition, being economically underprivileged or being quarantined due to infection or fear of infection.

This paper is aimed at narratively reviewing various articles related to mental-health aspects of children and adolescents impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and enforcement of nationwide or regional lockdowns to prevent further spread of infection.

Methods

The researchers conducted a review and collected articles and advisories on mental health aspects of children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. They selected articles and thematically organised them. The researchers put up their major findings under the thematic areas of impact on young children, school and college going students, children and adolescents with mental health challenges, economically underprivileged children, impact due to quarantine and separation from parents and the advisories of international organisations. They have also provided recommendations to the above.

Conclusions

There is a pressing need for planning longitudinal and developmental studies, and implementing evidence based elaborative plan of action to cater to the psycho social and mental health needs of the vulnerable children and adolescents during pandemic as well as post pandemic.

There is a need to ameliorate children and adolescents’ access to mental health support services geared towards providing measures for developing healthy coping mechanisms during the current crisis.

For this innovative, child and adolescent mental health policies with direct and digital collaborative networks of psychiatrists, psychologists, paediatricians, and community volunteers are deemed necessary.

Reference

Singh, S., Roy, D., Sinha, K., Parveen, S. Sharma, G. & Joshi, G. (2020) Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations. Psychiatry Research. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113429. Online ahead of print.