Psychological impact of COVID-19 in the Swedish population: Depression, anxiety, and insomnia and their associations to risk and vulnerability factors

Eur Psychiatry. 2020 Aug 26;63(1):e81. doi: 10.1192/j.eurpsy.2020.81.


Background: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, with its associated restrictions on daily life, is like a perfect storm for poor mental health and wellbeing. The purpose of this study was therefore to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing during the ongoing pandemic in Sweden.

Method: Standardized measures of depression, anxiety, and insomnia as well as measures of risk and vulnerability factors known to be associated with poor mental health outcomes were administered through a national, online, cross-sectional survey (n = 1,212; mean age 36.1 years; 73% women).

Result: Our findings show significant levels of depression, anxiety, and insomnia in Sweden, at rates of 30%, 24.2%, and 38%, respectively. The strongest predictors of these outcomes included poor self-rated overall health and a history of mental health problems. The presence of COVID-19 symptoms and specific health and financial worries related to the pandemic also appeared important.

Conclusions: The impacts of COVID-19 on mental health in Sweden are comparable to impacts shown in previous studies in Italy and China. Importantly, the pandemic seems to impose most on the mental health of those already burdened with the impacts of mental health problems. These results provide a basis for providing more support for vulnerable groups, and for developing psychological interventions suited to the ongoing pandemic and for similar events in the future.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; depression; insomnia; mental health; risk and vulnerability factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology*
  • Sweden
  • Young Adult