Document Type : Research paper

Authors

1 Psychiatry Fellowship Doctor, South Tyneside Community Treatment Team, CNTW NHS trust, UK

2 Department of Psychiatry, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur, Chennai - 600 116, India

3 Psychiatry postgraduate trainee, Department of Psychiatry, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai 600116, India

4 Psychiatry postgraduate trainee, Department of Psychiatry, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur, Chennai - 600 116, India

5 Consultant Psychiatrist, SIMS hospital, Chennai, India

6 Department of Clinical Psychology, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur, Chennai - 600 116, India

7 Department of Psychiatry, ACS Medical College and Hospital, Chennai - 600077, India

8 Private Practitioner, Consultant Psychiatrist, Chennai, India

9 Saint George’s community mental health hospital, Specialist Psychotherapy Service, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Winter street, Sheffield Postcode - S3 7ND, United Kingdom

10 Adjunct Professor, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur, Chennai - 600 116, India

Abstract

Objectives: To assess the prevalence of psychological distress and identify the predictors and factors associated with the distress during the onset of COVID-19 pandemic among Indian population.

Methods: An online cross-sectional study with a semi-structured questionnaire was used to assess the psychological distress using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) among Indians. Descriptive statistics and prevalence of psychological distress were calculated. Chi-square test was done to find the association between the independent variables and psychological distress. Factors that are significantly associated with psychological distress were further analysed using multiple logistic regression analysis to identify the predictors.

Results: 846 responses were obtained with mean age 32 years (32.45 ± 11.44). 35% (n=290) had significant psychological distress with mean GHQ-12 score of 2.37. Factors associated were age (p=0.002), family members having COVID symptoms (p=0.017), lockdown distress (p=0.0001), source of health information (p=0.041), perception that information by social media increased fear (p=0.0001), likelihood of family contracting COVID-19 (p=0.022), pattern of food consumption (p=0.0001) and worry about financial burden during lockdown (p=0.0001). By logistic regression analysis, we found increased odds of developing psychological distress among the participants aged less than 40 years (OR=1.49, C.I=1-2.249,p=0.050); people who felt distressed due to the lockdown situation (OR= 2.31, C.I=1.694-3.162, p=0.0001); individuals whose fear increased due to social media information (OR=1.55, C.I= 1.144-2.113, p=0.005) and participants whose food pattern increased during the lockdown period (OR=1.41, C.I=1.035-1.923, p=0.029).

Conclusions: Nearly 1/3rd of the participants were in a state of psychological distress which transcended topographical barriers with factors such as being less than 40 years of age, accessing health information through social media, pattern of food consumption being increased and being in lockdown situation as predictors of psychological distress.

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