COVID-19 and mental health in the UK: depression, anxiety and insomnia and their associations with persistent physical symptoms and risk and vulnerability factors

Article


Yu, L. and McCracken, L.M. 2024. COVID-19 and mental health in the UK: depression, anxiety and insomnia and their associations with persistent physical symptoms and risk and vulnerability factors. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 63 (1), pp. 92-104. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjc.12446
TypeArticle
TitleCOVID-19 and mental health in the UK: depression, anxiety and insomnia and their associations with persistent physical symptoms and risk and vulnerability factors
AuthorsYu, L. and McCracken, L.M.
Abstract

Objectives
Mental health problems and persistent COVID-19 symptoms were prevalent in the context of COVID-19. However, despite the long-observed association between physical symptoms and mental health problems, such association has not been adequately examined in the context of COVID-19. Our understanding of wider patterns of risk and vulnerability factors for mental health also remains limited. This study investigated the associations between general mental health, and persistent physical symptoms, and additional risk and vulnerability factors in the context of COVID-19.

Methods
Two hundred fourteen adults, living in the UK, recruited via social media, completed the online survey and were included in the analyses. Correlation and regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations of persistent physical symptoms and risk and vulnerability factors with measures of general mental health including depressive symptoms, anxiety and insomnia.

Results
78.5% of the participants reported between 1 and 26 persistent symptoms, and about 28%–92% of them associated these symptoms with COVID-19 infection. Persistent physical symptoms were uniquely associated with all measures of mental health, β = .19–.32. Mental health history and worries were the most prominent risk factors, |β| = .12–.43.

Conclusions
People who experience more persistent physical symptoms post-COVID-19 have poorer mental health. It may be important to consider and discuss the recovery from COVID-19 beyond a negative COVID-19 test. Multidisciplinary interventions that address the complex impact of COVID-19 for people with long COVID are needed.

Keywords‘long COVID’; mental health; persistent symptoms; risk factors
Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
LanguageEnglish
PublisherWiley
The British Psychological Society
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
ISSN0144-6657
Electronic2044-8260
Publication dates
Online06 Nov 2023
PrintMar 2024
Publication process dates
Submitted02 Aug 2023
Accepted22 Oct 2023
Deposited06 Nov 2023
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
License
Copyright Statement

© 2023 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/bjc.12446
Web of Science identifierWOS:001099834200001
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