COVID-19 and Mental Health: Predicted Mental Health Status is Associated with Clinical Symptoms and Pandemic-Related Psychological and Behavioral Responses

This article was originally published here

medRxiv. 2021 Oct 14:2021.10.12.21264902. doi: 10.1101/2021.10.12.21264902. Preprint.


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic led to dramatic threats to health and social life. Study objectives – develop a prediction model leveraging subsample of known Patient/Controls and evaluate the relationship of predicted mental health status to clinical outcome measures and pandemic-related psychological and behavioral responses during lockdown (spring/summer 2020).

METHODS: Online cohort study conducted by National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program. Convenience sample of English-speaking adults (enrolled 4/4-5/16/20; n=1,992). Enrollment measures: demographics, clinical history, functional status, psychiatric and family history, alcohol/drug use. Outcome measures (enrollment and q2 weeks/6 months): distress, loneliness, mental health symptoms, and COVID-19 survey. NIMH IRP Patient/Controls survey responses informed assignment of Patient Probability Scores (PPS) for all participants. Regression models analyzed the relationship between PPS and outcome measures.

OUTCOMES: Mean age 46.0 (±14.7), female (82.4%), white (88.9 %). PPS correlated with distress, loneliness, depression, and mental health factors. PPS associated with negative psychological responses to COVID-19. Worry about mental health (OR 1.46) exceeded worry about physical health (OR 1.13). PPS not associated with adherence to social distancing guidelines but was with stress related to social distancing and worries about infection of self/others.

INTERPRETATION: Mental health status (PPS) was associated with concurrent clinical ratings and COVID-specific negative responses. A focus on mental health during the pandemic is warranted, especially among those with mental health vulnerabilities. We will include PPS when conducting longitudinal analyses of mental health trajectories and risk and resilience factors that may account for differing clinical outcomes.


PMID:34671781 | PMC:PMC8528090 | DOI:10.1101/2021.10.12.21264902