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Abstract Background Cross-sectional studies have found that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has negatively affected population-level mental health. Longitudinal studies are necessary to examine trajectories of change in mental health over time and identify sociodemographic groups at risk for persistent distress. Purpose To examine the trajectories of mental distress between March 10 and August 4, 2020, a key period during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods Participants included 6,901 adults from the nationally representative Understanding America Study, surveyed at baseline between March 10 and 31, 2020, with nine follow-up assessments between April 1 and August 4, 2020. Mixed-effects logistic regression was used to examine the association between date and self-reported mental distress (measured with the four-item Patient Health Questionnaire) among U.S. adults overall and among sociodemographic subgroups defined by sex, age, race/ethnicity, household structure, federal poverty line, and census region. Results Compared to March 11, the odds of mental distress among U.S. adults overall were 1.84 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.65–2.07) times higher on April 1 and 1.92 (95% CI = 1.62–2.28) times higher on May 1; by August 1, the odds of mental distress had returned to levels comparable to March 11 (odds ratio [OR] = 0.80, 95% CImore »
Crisis Response and Suicidal Behaviors of Essential Workers and Children of Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented stress on essential workers and their children. Limited cross-sectional research has found increases in mental health conditions from workload, reduced income, and isolation among essential workers. Less research has been conducted on children of essential workers. We examined trends in the crisis response of essential workers and their children from April 2020 through August 2021.
We investigated the impact during 3 periods of the pandemic on workers and their children using anonymized data from the Crisis Text Line on crisis help-seeking texts for thoughts of suicide or active suicidal ideation (desire, intent, capability, time frame), abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, unspecified), anxiety/stress, grief, depression, isolation, bullying, eating or body image, gender/sexual identity, self-harm, and substance use. We used generalized estimating equations to study the longitudinal change in crisis response across the later stages of the pandemic using adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for worker status and crisis outcomes.
Results demonstrated higher odds of crisis outcomes for thoughts of suicide (aOR = 1.06; 95% CI, 1.00-1.12) and suicide capability (aOR = 1.14; 95% CI, 1.02-1.27) among essential workers than among nonessential workers. Children of essential workers had higher odds of substance use than children of nonessential workersmore »
Essential workers and their children had elevated crisis outcomes. Immediate and low-cost psychologically supportive interventions are needed to mitigate the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on these populations.
A longitudinal study of psychological distress in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemicThe COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial stress and disrupted daily life more quickly than any prior economic downturn and on a scale beyond any prior natural disaster. This study aimed to assess the impact of the pandemic on psychological distress and identify vulnerable groups using longitudinal data to account for pre-pandemic mental health status. Clinically significant psychological distress was assessed with the Kessler-6 in a national probability sample of adults in the United States at two time points, February 2019 (T1) and May 2020 (T2). To identify increases in distress, psychological distress during the worst month of the past year at T1 was compared with psychological distress over the past 30-days at T2. Survey adjusted logistic regression was used to estimate associations of demographic characteristics at T1 (gender, age, race, and income) and census region at T2 with within-person increases in psychological distress. The past-month prevalence of serious psychological distress at T2 was as high as the past-year prevalence at T1 (10.9% vs. 10.2%). Psychological distress was strongly associated across assessments (X2(4) = 174.6, p < .0001). Increase in psychological distress above T1 was associated with gender, age, household income, and census region. Equal numbers of people experienced serious psychological distress in 30-days duringmore »
Associations between grip strength, brain structure, and mental health in > 40,000 participants from the UK Biobank
Grip strength is a widely used and well-validated measure of overall health that is increasingly understood to index risk for psychiatric illness and neurodegeneration in older adults. However, existing work has not examined how grip strength relates to a comprehensive set of mental health outcomes, which can detect early signs of cognitive decline. Furthermore, whether brain structure mediates associations between grip strength and cognition remains unknown.
Based on cross-sectional and longitudinal data from over 40,000 participants in the UK Biobank, this study investigated the behavioral and neural correlates of handgrip strength using a linear mixed effect model and mediation analysis.
In cross-sectional analysis, we found that greater grip strength was associated with better cognitive functioning, higher life satisfaction, greater subjective well-being, and reduced depression and anxiety symptoms while controlling for numerous demographic, anthropometric, and socioeconomic confounders. Further, grip strength of females showed stronger associations with most behavioral outcomes than males. In longitudinal analysis, baseline grip strength was related to cognitive performance at ~9 years follow-up, while the reverse effect was much weaker. Further, baseline neuroticism, health, and financial satisfaction were longitudinally associated with subsequent grip strength. The results revealed widespread associations between stronger grip strength and increased grey mattermore »
Overall, using the largest population-scale neuroimaging dataset currently available, our findings provide the most well-powered characterization of interplay between grip strength, mental health, and brain structure, which may facilitate the discovery of possible interventions to mitigate cognitive decline during aging.
Objective: This study addresses mental health concerns among university students, examining cumulative stress exposure as well as resilience resources. Participants: Participants were 253 first- and second-year undergraduate students (age = 18.76; 49.80% male, 69% students of color) enrolled at a large western US university. Methods: Data were obtained from a cross-sectional online survey examining marginalized statuses and multiple stressors alongside coping responses, adaptive self-concept, and social support as predictors of stress, anxiety, and depression. Results: Multivariate regressions demonstrated significant associations between stress exposures and lower levels of resilience resources with each mental health indicator (with substantial R2 of.49-.60). Although stressor exposures accounted for significant increases in mental health concerns, their exploratory power was attenuated by resilience resources (e.g., beta decreases from.25 to.16). Conclusions: Better understanding cumulative adversity/resilience resource profiles, particularly among marginalized students, can help universities in prioritizing institutional support responses toward prevention and mitigating psychological distress.