Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious mental health impact in the United States of America, as well as all over the world.
Objective: To assess some of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of US adult population, as well as the relationship between the average number of new COVID-19 cases and the average frequency of symptoms of anxiety, of depression, and of anxiety or depression between April 23 and October 26 2020.
Materials and methods: Retrospective study. Psychosocial and demographic data were obtained from the online community-based Household Pulse Survey website. Data about the number of new COVID-19 cases detected in USA during the study period were taken from the Our World in Data website. The Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the strength of the relationships between the average new cases of COVID-19 during the study period and the average frequency of symptoms of anxiety, of depression, and of anxiety or depression. These correlations were also assessed in a subgroup analysis (gender, age group, education level, and ethnicity).
Results: A total of 1,351,911 US adults completed the survey. The average rates of symptoms of depression, of anxiety, and of anxiety or depression were 25.7±1.6%, 31.9±2.0%, and 36.8±2.0%, respectively. The average number of new COVID-19 cases was positively correlated with the mean frequency of symptoms of anxiety, of depression, and of anxiety or depression (r=0.858, r=0.710, and r=0.887; p<0.001). Likewise, positive correlations between the average number of new cases and the mean frequency of anxiety or depressive symptoms were found in the subgroups (r=0.484-0.917).
Conclusions: According to our results, the number of new COVID-19 cases detected during the study period in USA was positively correlated with the frequency of anxiety or depression symptoms in the participants, that is, as the number of new cases increased, so did the frequency of the symptoms of these mental disorders.