Elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety among family members and friends of critically ill COVID-19 patients – an observational study of five cohorts across four countries

Anikó Lovik, Juan González-Hijón, Asle Hoffart, Chloe Fawns-Ritchie, Ingibjörg Magnúsdóttir, Li Lu, Anna Bára Unnarsdóttir, Anna K. Kähler, Archie Campbell, Arna Hauksdóttir, Charilaos Chourpiliadis, Daniel L. McCartney, Edda Bjork Thordardottir, Emily E. Joyce, Emma M. Frans, Johanna Jakobsdottir, Lill Trogstad, Ole A. Andreassen, Per Magnus, Sverre Urnes JohnsonPatrick F. Sullivan, Thor Aspelund, David J. Porteous, Helga Ask, Omid V. Ebrahimi, Unnur A. Valdimarsdóttir, Fang Fang (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Little is known regarding the mental health impact of having a significant person (family member and/or close friend) with COVID-19 of different severity.

Methods: The study included five prospective cohorts from four countries (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the UK) with self-reported data on COVID-19 and symptoms of depression and anxiety during March 2020–March 2022. We calculated prevalence ratios (PR) of depression and anxiety in relation to having a significant person with COVID-19 and performed a longitudinal analysis in the Swedish cohort to describe temporal patterns.

Findings: 162,237 and 168,783 individuals were included in the analysis of depression and anxiety, respectively, of whom 24,718 and 27,003 reported a significant person with COVID-19. Overall, the PR was 1.07 (95% CI: 1.05–1.10) for depression and 1.08 (95% CI: 1.03–1.13) for anxiety in relation to having a significant person with COVID-19. The respective PRs for depression and anxiety were 1.15 (95% CI: 1.08–1.23) and 1.24 (95% CI: 1.14–1.34) if the patient was hospitalized, 1.42 (95% CI: 1.27–1.57) and 1.45 (95% CI: 1.31–1.60) if the patient was ICU-admitted, and 1.34 (95% CI: 1.22–1.46) and 1.36 (95% CI: 1.22–1.51) if the patient died. Individuals with a significant person with hospitalized, ICU-admitted, or fatal COVID-19 showed elevated prevalence of depression and anxiety during the entire year after the COVID-19 diagnosis.

Interpretation: Family members and close friends of critically ill COVID-19 patients show persistently elevated prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100733
Number of pages11
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Europe
Volume33
Early online date4 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Significant person
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cross-country study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Oncology
  • Internal Medicine

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