Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults with current and prior depression: initial findings from the longitudinal Texas RAD study

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Abstract

Background: Emerging work has suggested worsening mental health in the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is minimal data on individuals with a prior history of depression. Methods: Data regarding depression, anxiety and quality of life in adult participants with a history of a depressive disorder (n = 308) were collected before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mixed effects regression models were fit for these outcomes over the period May – August 2020, controlling for pre-pandemic depressive groups (none, mild, moderate-to-severe), demographic characteristics, and early COVID-19 related experiences (such as disruptions in routines, mental health treatment, and social supports). Results: In pre-to-early pandemic comparisons, the 3 pre-pandemic depressive categories varied significantly in anxiety (Fdf=2,197 = 7.93, p < 0.0005) and psychological QOL (Fdf=2,196 = 8.57, p = 0.0003). The mildly depressed group (Fdf=1,201 = 6.01, p = 0.02) and moderate-to-severely depressed group (Fdf=1,201 = 38.51, p < 0.0001) had a significant reduction in anxiety. There were no changes among the groups in any outcome from May to August 2020. However, early impact on mental health care access and disruption in routines predicted worse outcomes during this time. Limitations: Follow-up data were self-reported. Furthermore, the duration was a relatively short span into the pandemic. Conclusions: Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and quality of life were generally stable from 2019 throughout August 2020 in adults with a history of depression. Disruption in mental health care access and routines in May 2020 predicted worse symptom outcomes through August 2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Volume294
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

Keywords

  • adults
  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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