Anxiety and depression in community-dwelling patients with schizophrenia in China during the COVID-19 pandemic


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Abstract Background The 2019 Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) poses a huge challenge to the global public health. People with schizophrenia living in communities urgently need effective interventions to help them adjust to life and work, but they have not received enough attention. This study aims to assess the prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms in community-dwelling patients with schizophrenia in China during the epidemic, and to explore possible influencing factors. Methods Using a cross-sectional survey, we collected 15165 questionnaires. Assessments included subjects’ demographic information, knowledge of COVID-19-related information, sleep status, anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, and other accompanying illnesses. The Chinese versions of the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) and the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) were used to evaluate the depression and anxiety of patients. Results Moderate to severe anxiety accounted for 16.9%, and the percentage of moderate and above depression was 34.9%. T-test showed that females with schizophrenia had a significantly higher score of GAD-7 and PHQ-9 than males with schizophrenia (t=-2.03, P = 0.042; t=-3.27, P = 0.001), and patients without other accompanying long-standing diseases (t = 4.18, P < 0.001; t = 6.86, P < 0.001), not understanding COVID-19 (t = 8.17, P<0.001; t = 2.29, P = 0.022) had lower GAD-7 and PHQ-9 scores. ANOVA showed that participants aged from 30 to 39 (F = 2.8, ,P = 0.014), with higher educational levels (F = 4.0, ༌P = 0.007) scored higher on GAD-, ༌and patients with better sleep(F = 158.8, ༌P < 0.001; F = 284.0, ༌P < 0.001), having a simple knowledge of COVID-19 (F = 93.19, P<0.001; F = 95.30, P<0.001) had lower GAD-7 and PHQ-9 scores. Bivariate regression analysis indicated that participants aged 30–39 and 40–49 positively predicted anxiety, whereas only patients aged 30–39 years were positively predictive of depression. Participants with poor sleep, other long-standing diseases, knowing the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to experience anxiety and depression. Conclusion Patients aged from 30 to 39, with poor sleep, other accompanying long-standing diseases, knowing the COVID-19 pandemic were potential factors of depression and anxiety. We need to strengthen psychological intervention for patients with schizophrenia.
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