Comparing Mental Health during COVID-19 Lockdown and Six Months Later in Austria: A Longitudinal Study
14 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 8, 2020
Background: The novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has repeatedly reported to impair mental health. This longitudinal study evaluated mental health at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic and six months later in Austria.
Methods: This online study was performed through Qualtrics® during the lockdown (t1) in April and again six months after the lockdown (t2) in September. Indicators of mental health were depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), and sleep quality (ISI) as well as quality of life (WHO-QoL BREF), well-being (WHO-5), and perceive stress (PSS-10),
Results: In total N=437 individuals participated in both surveys (52.9 % women). The number of participants with clinically relevant depressive- (χ2 (1) = 0.50), anxiety- (χ2 (1) = 0.18), or insomnia symptoms (χ2 (1) = 0.16) did not differ statistically significantly between t1 and t2. The prevalence of moderate or severe 1) depressive symptoms changed from 18% to 20%, 2) clinically insomnia from 15% to 16%, and 3) anxiety symptoms from 17% to 16% from t1 to t2. Bonferroni-corrected t-tests showed that well-being (WHO-5) increased, and stress level (PSS-10) decreased. However, effect sizes seem clinically not relevant (Cohen`s d <0.2).
Conclusions: Results suggest that detrimental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic persisted six months after its outbreak and the end of the lockdown measures, respectively. Regarding well-being and stress there is a slight trend in improvement.
Keywords: Mental health, COVID-19, depression, anxiety, insomnia, stress
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