Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has various unfavorable effects on individuals and the community. This study aims to assess the psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic and the subsequent social isolation on the general population of Karnataka, India.
Methods: A web-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in Karnataka from 8 to 14 April 2020 using the snowball technique. The psychological impact was assessed with the help of the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and seven-item General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) questionnaires. IBM SPSS Statistics Subscription version 16.0 was recruited to analyze the data. Descriptive (Mean + Standard Deviation) and bivariate (Pearson chi-square and ANOVA tests) analysis used to present data with the significance level set at less than 0.05.
Results: This study included 1537 participants from 26 cities in Karnataka. About two-thirds of the respondents were undergraduate students (951, 61.9%), females (768, 50.0%), and 40.1% stayed about 15-20 days in social isolation. The prevalence of depression was 47.0%, and anxiety was 41.5%, respectively, among the surveyed sample. After the analysis, the age group 21-30 year old (P < 0.001), females P < 0.001), urban residents (P = 0.021), and the students (P p < 0.001) were significant for depression. However, only the age group 31-40 years was found to be more susceptible to anxiety.
Conclusion: As important as addressing the psychological effects, knowing people at risk of developing mental illnesses will contribute effectively to providing appropriate psychological rehabilitation programs at the right time.
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