Impact of COVID-19 on mental health according to prior depression status: A mental health survey of community prospective cohort data

Sun Jae Jung, Ye Jin Jeon, Ji Su Yang, Minseo Park, Kwanghyun Kim, Lori B. Chibnik, Hyeon Chang Kim, Karestan C. Koenen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: We aimed to investigate the mental health impact of COVID-19 on a demographically well-characterized population cohort by gender and previous depression status. Methods: Among people who participated in a community cohort study between 2013 and 2018 with previous depression measurement, a total of 1928 people without quarantine experience (680 men and 1249 women) were included after responding to an online survey in March 2020. In the 2020 survey, people were queried about daily needs supply, social support, risk perception, change during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as mental health indices measuring loneliness, anxiety symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. Separate analyses by gender were conducted to assess the association between COVID-19-related experiences and each mental health index, using multivariable logistic regressions with additional adjustment and stratification with pre-existing depression status. Results: We could not observe significant gender differences for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and loneliness at 55 days after the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Most external support, including daily needs supply and social support, protected men and women from experiencing severe anxiety (for life supply, OR = 0.92 (95%CI 0.88–0.97) (men) and OR = 0.95 (95% CI 0.91–0.99) (women); for social support, OR = 0.92(both for men and women, p < 0.01)). The results were similar for depression and PTSD. External support showed a larger reduction in the likelihoods for anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic among people with pre-existing depression compared to previously healthy people, and it was more prominent in men. Conclusion: COVID-19 significantly affected the mental health of both men and women in the early period of the pandemic. Having enough supply of daily needs and social support seems important, especially for people with previous depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110552
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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