Lower life satisfaction and worse mental health have been linked to COVID-19 symptoms.
The Lancet Psychiatry published the study, which is a component of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study. The study is led by researchers from King’s College London and University College London in collaboration with several UK institutions.
The study investigated how subsequent mental health and wellbeing were affected by COVID-19 infection. Between April 2020 and April 2021, 54,442 subjects in 11 longitudinal studies with and without self-reported COVID-19 were included.
Researchers discovered that past self-reported COVID-19 scores were related to increases in psychological discomfort, sadness, anxiety, and worse life satisfaction.
The connections with worse mental health persisted after infection, underscoring the disease’s potentially long-lasting effects and the demand for a more thorough follow-up by medical professionals.
Whether or not people had COVID-19 antibodies, self-reported COVID-19 was consistently linked to psychological discomfort. Different gender, racial, and socioeconomic groups experienced these impacts of infection in a comparable way.
This study brings together many of the UK’s longitudinal studies to provide a comprehensive overview of the impacts of COVID-19 infection on population mental health. Compared to most studies to-date that have focussed on more severe and hospitalised cases, this study demonstrates the impact of infection during a pandemic on overall population mental health and wellbeing.Professor Praveetha Patalay
According to the study, COVID-19 infection may have a more negative influence on mental health in older individuals because there is a larger correlation between poorer mental health and self-reported infection in those who are 50 years of age and older.
This may be due to the fact that older individuals are more likely to have more severe COVID-19 symptoms, worry more about being sick, and have a higher chance of developing alterations to the brain’s (neurological) or blood vessels’ (microvascular) structure after infection.
In contrast, prior research has found that women and adults between the ages of 25 and 44 have been most negatively impacted by the pandemic’s overall effects on mental health.
Joint first author Dr. Ellen Thompson from King’s College London said: “These findings suggest that there were prolonged mental health consequences of COVID-19 infection for some people at the beginning of this pandemic. Understanding why this is the case will be key to finding treatment strategies for those affected as well as preventing such effects in future pandemic waves.”
Senior author Prof Praveetha Patalay from University College London said: “This study brings together many of the UK’s longitudinal studies to provide a comprehensive overview of the impacts of COVID-19 infection on population mental health. Compared to most studies to-date that have focussed on more severe and hospitalised cases, this study demonstrates the impact of infection during a pandemic on overall population mental health and wellbeing.”