• Julie Veronica Vinkel Braad
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate the psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the general population in Denmark. The study sought to investigate the prevalence of symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, as well as measure quality of life and social function. Another aim of the study was to iden-tify possible associated risk factors for bad mental health outcomes of the epidemic, as well as discuss possible protective factors.
Methods: The study was designed as a (quantitative) cross-sectional study using an online questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of demographic data for analyses, a scale for measuring level of COVID-19-related worry, questions related to physical health, as well as stressful events experienced prior to the outbreak. The questionnaire also included the validated scaled DASS-21, for measuring symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, the WHO-5 for measuring quality of life, and a modified version of the Sheehan Disability Scale for measuring social function. The survey was dis-tributed through online social media using Survey Exact.
Results: 359 adult respondents from the general Danish population participated in the study. The statistical analyses showed that generally, the population did not have a mean quality of life score below average, however the scores on DASS-21 were slightly increased relative to the norm, in particular the subscales of depression and stress. A higher level of COVID-19-related worry could be associated with an in-creased risk of bad mental health during the epidemic, as could being female, being a student, and having a history of more stressful events within the past year. The study also found, that physical health related risks was only a weak predictor of mental health, and only of the anxiety subscale. A history of mental illness was found to be the strongest predictor of high DASS-21 scores.

Conclusion: The study is limited because of possible biases in data collection meth-ods, and because it does not provide any information on possible long-term effects of the epidemic. However, it is found to be of concern that people with a history of mental illness could be at risk of bad mental health outcomes from the epidemic, as they experienced more symptoms of distress, had lower quality of life, and might be less resilient due to their history. And it is an issue that could have implications for future research and for health care strategies regarding future epidemic outbreaks.
Publication date1 Jun 2020
Number of pages59
ID: 333365300