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Psychological morbidities and fatigue in patients with confirmed COVID-19 during disease outbreak: prevalence and associated biopsychosocial risk factors

By Rongfeng Qi, Wei Chen, Saiduo Liu, Paul M. Thompson, Long Jiang Zhang, Fei Xia, Fang Cheng, Ailing Hong, Wesley Surento, Song Luo, Zhi Yuan Sun, Chang Sheng Zhou, Lingjiang Li, Xiangao Jiang, Guang Ming Lu

Posted 11 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.08.20031666

Objective: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - a novel and highly infectious pneumonia - has now spread across China and beyond for over four months. However, its psychological impact on patients is unclear. We aim to examine the prevalence and associated risk factors for psychological morbidities and fatigue in patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection. Methods: Amidst the disease outbreak, 41 out of 105 COVID-19 patients in a local designated hospital in China were successfully assessed using a constellation of psychometric questionnaires to determine their psychological morbidities and fatigue. Several potential biopsychosocial risk factors (including pre-existing disabilities, CT severity score of pneumonia, social support, coping strategies) were assessed through multivariable logistic regression analyses to clarify their association with mental health in patients. Results: 43.9% of 41 patients presented with impaired general mental health, 12.2% had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, 26.8% had anxiety and/or depression symptoms, and 53.6% had fatigue. We did not find any association between pneumonia severity and psychological morbidities or fatigue in COVID-19 patients. However, high perceived stigmatization was associated with an increased risk of impaired general mental health and high perceived social support was associated with decreased risk. Besides, negative coping inclination was associated with an increased risk of PTSD symptoms; high perceived social support was associated with a decreased risk of anxiety and/or depression symptoms. Conclusions: Psychological morbidities and chronic fatigue are common among COVID-19 patients. Negative coping inclination and being stigmatized are primary risk factors while perceived social support is the main protective factor.

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