The Impact of Covid-19 Experiences and Associated Stress on Anxiety, Depression, and Functional Impairment in American Adults

Cognit Ther Res. 2020;44(6):1043-1051. doi: 10.1007/s10608-020-10143-y. Epub 2020 Aug 29.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on health and well-being worldwide and there is increasing recognition of the need to understand the psychological impact of COVID-19 experiences and stress in addition to the physical health consequences.

Methods: The present study examined how experiences related to COVID-19 and associated stress impact, anxiety, depression, and functional impairment in a convenience sample of 565 American adults (57.9% male) recruited through MTURK.

Results: COVID-19 experiences were consistently associated with higher odds of probable anxiety and depression diagnoses (ORs ≥ 3.0). COVID-19 associated stress also predicted large proportions of variance (R 2 ≥ 30) in anxiety, depression, health anxiety, and functional impairment in latent variable analyses.

Conclusions: These findings highlight that personal experiences related to the diagnosis of COVID-19, mortality in acquaintances, and COVID-19 associated stress is associated with a greatly elevated risk of emotional disorder symptomatology and that the COVID-19 pandemic may result in increased demand for mental health services.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVD-19; Coronavirus; Depression; Stress.