Psychological Distress and Its Correlates Among COVID-19 Survivors During Early Convalescence Across Age Groups

Elsevier, The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Volume 28, Issue 10, October 2020, Pages 1030-1039
Xin Cai, Xiaopeng Hu, Ivo Otte Ekumi, Jianchun Wang, Yawen An, Zhiwen Li, Bo Yuan


To examine the psychological distress and the associated predictor factors of the 2019 corona-virus disease (COVID-19) on survivors in the early convalescence in Shenzhen.


A survey questionnaire consisting of post-traumatic stress disorder self-rating scale (PTSD-SS), self-rating depression scale (SDS), and self-rating anxiety scale (SAS) was presented to COVID-19 survivors still in quarantine. Scores of each scale and subscale were dependent variables in the Mann-Whitney test and stepwise regression analysis.


A total of 126 subjects were included in the study, the mean scores of PTSD-SS, SDS, and SAS were 45.5 ± 18.9, 47.3 ± 13.1, and 43.2 ± 10.2, respectively, meanwhile, 9 (31.0%), 28 (22.2%), and 48 (38.1%) of the survivors met the cut-score for clinical significant symptoms of stress response, anxiety, and depression, respectively. Infected family members, and postinfection physical discomforts were significantly associated with scores on all three scales. Social support, retirement, and being female had significant associations with the PTSD-SS score. The survivors aged 60 or above experienced less severe stress response symptoms, fewer emotional symptoms of depression, and fewer anxiety symptoms than younger survivors.


The occurrence rate of psychological distress among the COVID-19 survivors in early convalescence was high, highlighting the need for all COVID-19 survivors to be screened for psychological distress regularly for timely intervention. The predictors indicated by the current study may help to identify those at high-risk. Besides, the results indicated the older survivors suffered less emotional reactivity and fewer stress response symptoms from infectious diseases than the younger ones.