Prevalence and determinants of probable depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic in seven countries: Longitudinal evidence from the European COvid Survey (ECOS)

André Hajek, Iryna Sabat, Sebastian Neumann-Böhme, Jonas Schreyögg, Pedro Pita Barros, Tom Stargardt, Hans Helmut König

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Our aim was to present data on the prevalence of probable depression and anxiety and to determine their correlates during the COVID-19 pandemic in seven European countries using a longitudinal approach. Methods: Longitudinal data (wave 4 in November 2020: n = 7,115; wave 5 in January 2021: n = 7,068; wave 6 in April 2021: n = 7,204) were taken from the European COvid Survey (ECOS), a representative sample of non-institutionalized inhabitants from Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, Netherlands, France, Portugal and Italy aged 18+. Probable depression and anxiety were quantified using the established and validated PHQ-4 (2-item depression scale, PHQ-2 / 2-item anxiety scale, GAD-2). Results: In wave 4 (wave 5; wave 6), 26.6% (25.5%; 23.8%) of all respondents had probable depression and 25.7% (23.6%; 22.1%) had probable anxiety. Prevalence rates for probable depression and probable anxiety differed significantly between countries. Among all countries and waves, particularly high prevalence rates were found among individuals aged 18 to 29 years. Longitudinal analysis showed that the likelihood of probable depression was positively associated with increasing age, great income difficulties and lower health-related quality of life. The likelihood of probable anxiety was positively associated with income difficulties, and lower health-related quality of life. Limitations: Screening tool was used to quantify the outcomes. Conclusion: The magnitude of probable depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic in European countries was highlighted. Moreover, determining the factors associated with probable depression or anxiety (e.g., income difficulties, worse health-related quality of life) may assist in identifying individuals at increased risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-524
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume299
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Depression
  • Mental disorders
  • Mental illness
  • Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)
  • Prevalence
  • SARS-CoV-2

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