Association of Acute Symptoms of COVID-19and Symptoms of Depression in Adults

March 12, 2021

Roy H. Perlis, MD, MSc; Katherine Ognyanova, PhD; Mauricio Santillana, PhD; Matthew A. Baum, PhD; David Lazer, PhD; James Druckman, PhD; John Della Volpe, AB

JAMA Network

A quantitative study looking at the associations between COVID-19 symptoms and depressive symptoms using internet-based nonprobability surveys conducted between June 2020 and January 2021. Participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), which evaluates depressive symptoms, and were asked to report prior COVID-19 illness as well as other sociodemographic questions. The study found that of the 3904 participants who reported prior COVID-19 infection, 2046 participants (52.4%) also met the criteria for symptoms of major depressive disorder according to their PHQ-9 results. Women were less likely to have depressive symptoms than men (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.61-0.84) and symptoms were more likely among younger participants (adjusted OR by decade = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.72-0.81). Additionally, it was found that participants who reported a headache during the acute COVID-19 infection appeared to have an elevated risk of depressive symptoms (adjusted OR = 1.33, 95% CI:1.10-1.62). The findings from this study suggest the importance of considering the potential syndemic of mental health and COVID-19 infection, and the importance of suggesting targeted interventions towards mitigating depression following acute COVID-19 infection.

Perlis RH, Ognyanova K, Santillana M, et al. Association of Acute Symptoms of COVID-19 and Symptoms of Depression in Adults. DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.3223.

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