The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder related symptoms in Coronavirus outbreaks: A systematic-review and meta-analysis

J Affect Disord. 2021 Mar 1;282:527-538. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.188. Epub 2021 Jan 2.

Abstract

Background: Infectious disease outbreaks affect physical and mental health of humans worldwide. Studies showed that the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms increased in these conditions. This systematic-review and meta-analysis aimed to assess the prevalence of PTSD related symptoms in coronavirus outbreaks.

Methods: Systematic search of literature was conducted in Scopus, Embase, PubMed, and Web of Science. Google Scholar and Grey literature including conference proceedings were also checked. Published articles from November 1, 2012 until May 18, 2020 were searched. Subgroup analysis, meta-regression and sensitivity analysis were also conducted to assess heterogeneity.

Results: We found 38 articles with 19,428 individuals met the eligibility criteria. Of these papers, 35 studies were included in meta-analysis. The prevalence of PTSD symptoms was estimated to be about 18% (95%CI: 15% to 20%). These symptoms were more frequent in cohort studies (29%) compared to cross-sectional (15%) and case-control (11%) studies. Prevalence rates of PTSD symptoms in MERS (36%) outbreaks were higher than SARS (18%) and COVID-19 (9%) outbreaks. Meta-regression showed that the geographical location of study was the source of heterogeneity (R2: 19.8%, P-value: 0.003). Meta-analysis reported that about three in every ten survivors of coronavirus infection, about two in every ten healthcare workers, and about one in every ten individuals of general population experienced PTSD symptoms in outbreaks.

Limitations: PTSD cannot be objectively assessed and this can lead to information bias of included studies.

Conclusion: PTSD symptoms are shown to be common in coronavirus outbreaks. Mental care should be, therefore, considered in the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; MERS; Pandemic; SARS; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Coronavirus*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Prevalence
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / epidemiology