Vulnerability to Mental Health Problems in Indian Population during Lockdown amidst COVID-19 Pandemic: An Alarm not to Snooze
Keywords:Humans, Male, Female, Patient Health Questionnaire, Cross-Sectional Studies, Pandemics, Depression, Private Sector, COVID-19, Anxiety, SARS-CoV-2, Surveys and Questionnaires
Background: Lockdown measures are being implemented in several parts of the world to control the spread of novel coronavirus. This unprecedented crisis has significantly affected the lives of people in different ways.
Aim: To understand the experiences and vulnerability to mental health problems during lockdown among the Indian population during COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online survey form circulated through various social media platforms from April 12 to May 3, 2020 containing self-reported questionnaires to collect lockdown related experiences and scales to assess anxiety (GAD-7) and depression (PHQ-9). A convenience sampling method was used.
Results: 442 valid responses were received from different states of India. Statistical analysis revealed that one-third of the respondents suffered from some form of anxiety and depression during a lockdown. Less than 10% of them had severe levels of symptoms. The majority were males aged 18-45 years and private sector employees. Delivering essential services was involved with significant anxiety and depression. Availability of food and daily essentials was the most common problem. Difficulty in availing medicines and financial crisis were significant predictors of anxiety and depression. Worsening of interpersonal relationships was associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression.
Conclusions: The study concluded that experiences during the lockdown and associated psychological outcomes are important factors to consider and appropriate preventive measures to be taken in case of any future lockdowns.
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