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Long-term trajectories of densely reported depressive symptoms during an extended period of the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland: Social worries matter


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  • 2024
Published in:
  • Comprehensive Psychiatry. - Amsterdam : Elsevier BV. - 2024, vol. 130, p. 1-8
English Previous mental health trajectory studies were mostly limited to the months before access to vaccination. They are not informing on whether public mental health has adapted to the pandemic. The aim of this analysis was to 1) investigate trajectories of monthly reported depressive symptoms from July 2020 to December 2021 in Switzerland, 2) compare average growth trajectories across regions with different stringency phases, and 3) explore the relative impact of self-reported worries related to health, economic and social domains as well as socio-economic indicators on growth trajectories. As part of the population-based Corona Immunitas program of regional, but harmonized, adult cohorts studying the pandemic course and impact, participants repeatedly reported online to the DASS-21 instrument on depressive symptomatology. Trajectories of depressive symptoms were estimated using a latent growth model, specified as a generalised linear mixed model. The time effect was modelled parametrically through a polynomial allowing to estimate trajectories for participants' missing time points. In all regions level and shape of the trajectories mirrored those of the KOF Stringency-Plus Index, which quantifies regional Covid-19 policy stringency. The higher level of average depression in trajectories of those expressing specific worries was most noticeable for the social domain. Younger age, female gender, and low household income went along with higher mean depression score trajectories throughout follow-up. Interventions to promote long-term resilience are an important part of pandemic preparedness, given the observed lack of an adaptation in mental health response to the pandemic even after the availability of vaccines in this high-income context.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Master en médecine
  • English
Pathology, clinical medicine
Open access status
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