Do contact precautions cause depression? A two-year study at a tertiary care medical centre

J Hosp Infect. 2011 Oct;79(2):103-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2011.03.026. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Contact precautions, used to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases, include the wearing of gowns and gloves for room entry. Previous small studies have shown an association between contact precautions and increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. A retrospective cohort of all patients admitted to a tertiary care centre over two years was studied to assess the relationship between contact precautions and depression or anxiety. During the two-year period, there were 70,275 admissions including 28,564 unique non-intensive-care-unit (ICU), non-psychiatric admissions. After adjusting for potential confounders, contact precautions were associated with depression [odds ratio (OR) 1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-1.5] but not with anxiety (OR 0.8, 95% CI 0.7-1.1) in the non-ICU population. Depression was 40% more prevalent among general inpatients on contact precautions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Baltimore
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Female
  • Gloves, Protective / adverse effects*
  • Hospitals, Teaching / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Protective Clothing / adverse effects*