Increased Psychological Distress during COVID-19 and Quarantine in Ireland: A national survey

Tom Burke*, Anna Berry, Laura Taylor, Owen Stafford, Eddie Murphy, Mark Shevlin, Louise McHugh, Alan Carr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: The emergence of the coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) resulted in a
global pandemic. The psychological impact of an epidemic is multifaceted and acute, with longterm consequences. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey-based design was employed,
assessing the psychological impact of COVID-19 on members of the Irish public during the
quarantine period of COVID-19 in Ireland. Participants were invited to complete the Depression,
Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) retrospectively (prior to quarantine) and during the
quarantine period, as well as measures of illness perceptions, well-being, and a bespoke measure
(the Effects of COVID Questionnaire, ECQ), which assessed perceptions of COVID-related stresses
associated with personal concerns, caring for children, caring for aging parents, as well as gratitude.
Results: A total of n = 1620 entered the survey platform, with a total of n = 847 surveys completed
by members of the Irish public. Entry into COVID-19 quarantine was associated with significant
increases in clinically significant symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety. The ECQ reliably
assessed a range of COVID-19-related stresses and had large and significant correlations with the
DASS-21. Conclusions: The COVID-19 quarantine was associated with stresses and significant
increases in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress in a national Irish cohort. The public
require increased access to mental health services to meet this increase in COVID-19-related
psychological distress.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Early online date28 Oct 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 28 Oct 2020


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