Disrupted rhythms of life, work and entertainment and their associations with psychological impacts under the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey in 5854 Chinese people with different sociodemographic backgrounds

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PLoS One. 2021 May 17;16(5):e0250770. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0250770. eCollection 2021.


BACKGROUND & AIM: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the life and work of people worldwide. The present study aimed to evaluate the rhythm disruptions of life, work, and entertainment, and their associations with the psychological impacts during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHOD: A cross-sectional study was conducted from the 10th to 17th March 2020 in China. A structured e-questionnaire containing general information, the Chinese version of Brief Social Rhythm Scale, and Zung’s self-rating scales of depression and anxiety (SDS and SAS) was posted and collected online through a public media (i.e. EQxiu online questionnaire platform). Scores in sleeping, getting up, and socializing (SGS) rhythm and eating, physical practice, and entertainment (EPE) rhythm were compared among and between participants with different sociodemographic backgrounds including gender, age, education, current occupation, annual income, health status, and chronic disease status. Correlations of SDS and SAS with SGS-scale and EPE-scale were also analyzed.

RESULTS: Overall, 5854 participants were included. There were significant differences in the scores of SGS-scale and EPE-scale among people with different sociodemographic backgrounds. The scores were significantly higher in the groups with female gender, low education level, lower or higher than average income, poor health status, ages of 26-30 years or older than 61 years, nurses and subjects with divorce or widow status. There were also significant differences in SAS and SDS scores among people with different sociodemographic backgrounds (all P< 0.05). The overall prevalence of depression and anxiety was 24.3% and 12.6%, respectively, with nurses having the highest rates of depression (32.94%) and anxiety (18.98%) among the different occupational groups. SGS-scale was moderately correlated with SDS and SAS, and disruption of SGS rhythm was an independent risk factor for depression and anxiety.

CONCLUSION: Social rhythm disruption was independently associated with depression and anxiety. Interventions should be applied to people vulnerable to the rhythm disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMID:33999924 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0250770