Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depressive Symptoms among Pakistani Population during the Second Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Regression Analysis

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  • 1 Department of Internal Medicine, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan;
  • | 2 Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, India;
  • | 3 Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), Karachi, Pakistan;
  • | 4 Department of Internal Medicine, Dr. Ruth K. M. Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan;
  • | 5 Department of Psychology, Dow University Hospital, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan

Over a span of 1 year, with millions infected, COVID-19 has spread to every part of the world and now poses a health threat to each and every one of us. The outbreak has consequently resulted in multiple health problems such as stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, insomnia, panic, and denial globally. Several factors have contributed to this rising number of psychiatric consults all over the world. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of Pakistani population during the second wave of the pandemic in this region. We conducted an online web-based cross-sectional survey comprising 500 participants. The questionnaire assessed the demographic information, attitude, and knowledge concerning COVID-19 outbreak in addition to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) utilizing the GAD-7 scale and depressive symptoms using the Center for Epidemiology Scale for Depression (CES-D) scale. The response rate of the study was 90.9%. The results of the survey indicated a prevalence of 25.4% of GAD, and 18.8% of depressive symptoms. Furthermore, nearly 34.8% of participants feared contracting COVID-19, 62.8% obtained constant critical updates regarding COVID-19, while 17.6% did not understand the knowledge regarding COVID-19. In the multivariate regression models, GAD was significantly associated with gender, age, and checking constantly of critical updates regarding COVID-19. Similarly, participants under 30 years had a higher risk of developing depressive symptoms than those above (> 30 years). Lastly, participants with no formal education were also found to be more prone to developing depression. We identified a potential threat to mental health during the pandemic.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Farah Yasmin, Department of Internal Medicine, Dow University of Health Sciences, Saddar, Karachi, Pakistan. E-mail: farahyasmin972@yahoo.com

Disclosure: Ethical approval was taken in this study from the institutional review board.

Authors’ addresses: Farah Yasmin, Muhammad Sohaib Asghar, and Sana Awan, Department of Internal Medicine, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan, E-mails: farahyasmin972@yahoo.com, sohaib_asghar123@yahoo.com, and sana.awan527@gmail.com. Kartik Dapke and Rachana Phadke, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, India, E-mails: kartikdapke4219@gmail.com and rachanap05@gmail.com. Muhammad Rahman Khalid, Hina Naz, and Farah Naz, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), Karachi, Pakistan, E-mails: rahmankhalid@gmail.com, drhinakz@hotmail.com, and em3nz7f@hotmail.com. Bushra Admani, Department of Internal Medicine, Dr. Ruth K. M. Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan, E-mail: bushra.admani345@gmail.com. Muhammad Saleem, Department of Psychology, Dow University Hospital, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan, E-mail: afraheem1990@gmail.com.

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