Prevalence of symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and psychological distress among populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Psychiatry Res. 2021 Jan:295:113599. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113599. Epub 2020 Nov 26.


Objective: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the pooled prevalence of depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, and Psychological distress (PD) related to COVID-19 among affected populations.

Methods: We searched articles in Medline, Embase, APA PsycInfo, CINAHL, Scopus, and Web of Science. Random-effects meta-analyses on the proportions of individuals with symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, and PD were generated and between-group differences for gender, healthcare workers (HCWs), and regions where studies were conducted.

Results: A total of 2189 articles were screened, 136 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility. Fifty-five peer-reviewed studies met inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis (N=189,159). The prevalence of depression (k=46) was 15.97% (95%CI, 13.24-19.13). The prevalence of anxiety (k=54) was 15.15% (95%CI, 12.29-18.54). The prevalence of insomnia (k=14) was 23.87% (95%CI, 15.74-34.48). The prevalence of PTSD (k=13) was 21.94% (95%CI, 9.37-43.31). Finally, the prevalence of psychological distress (k=19) was 13.29% (95%CI, 8.80-19.57). Between-group differences were only found in HCWs (z=2.69, p < 0.05) who had a higher prevalence of insomnia than others.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that the short-term mental health consequences of COVID-19 are equally high across affected countries, and across gender. However, reports of insomnia are significantly higher among HCWs than the general population.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; Depression; Insomnia; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Psychological distress; Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Psychological Distress*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*