How the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives: A study of psychological correlates across 59 countries

J Clin Psychol. 2021 Mar;77(3):556-570. doi: 10.1002/jclp.23082. Epub 2020 Oct 31.


Objective: This study examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social restrictions or quarantines on the mental health of the global adult population.

Method: A sample of 6,882 individuals (Mage = 42.30; 78.8% female) from 59 countries completed an online survey asking about several pandemic-related changes in life and psychological status.

Results: Of these participants, 25.4% and 19.5% reported moderate-to-severe depression (DASS-21) and anxiety symptoms (GAD-7), respectively. Demographic characteristics (e.g. higher-income country), COVID-19 exposure (e.g., having had unconfirmed COVID-19 symptoms), government-imposed quarantine level, and COVID-19-based life changes (e.g., having a hard time transitioning to working from home; increase in verbal arguments or conflict with other adult in home) explained 17.9% of the variance in depression and 21.5% in anxiety symptoms.

Conclusions: In addition to posing a high risk to physical health, the COVID-19 pandemic has robustly affected global mental health, so it is essential to ensure that mental health services reach individuals showing pandemic-related depression and anxiety symptoms.

Keywords: COVID-19; anxiety; depression; mental health; pandemic.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quarantine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult