Psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health of general population of Pakistan

  • Muhammad Afzal Biostatistician, Research and Publication, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad Pakistan
  • Hameed Mumtaz Durrani Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shifa College of Medicine, Islamabad Pakistan
  • Muhammad Imran Sohail Deputy Director Surveillance, Ministry of Health WHO, Islamabad Pakistan
Keywords: Anxiety, COVID-19, Depression, General population, Mental health


Background: Most of the ongoing research on COVID-19 is related to development of an effective vaccine and treatment for this illness, while psychological impact on mental health remains underexplored. The objective of this study was to determine the psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the general population of Islamabad.
Material and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among the general population of Islamabad, during a period of two months from 15th May to 15th July 2020. A total of 278 participants were given a structured questionnaire based on Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) scoring system to calculate depression and anxiety. The possible scores for depression and anxiety ranged 0-21. A cut off value of 8 and above was used to identify anxiety and depression with higher scores indicating increased severity.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 33.42 ± 9.67 years and 148 (53.2%) were males. Among these, 238 (85.6%) were residents of urban area, and 167 (60.1%) were married. Most of the participants were graduate 102 (36.7%). Thirty-six (12.9%) participants had a known patient of COVID-19 in their family or friends. Most of the participants 196 (70.5%) had no comorbidity. The mean anxiety score was noted to be 6.47 ± 5.51 and mean depression score was 6.65 ± 4.17. Presence of any comorbidity showed a highly significant association with anxiety and depression score (P < .01).
Conclusions: There was no significant psychological impact of COVID-19 on mental health of the population of Islamabad. However, people with comorbidities showed a significantly raised anxiety and depression status on the HADS score.

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