NYMC Faculty Publications

Frequency and Characteristics of Depression and Its Association with Diminished Quality of Life in a Cohort of Individuals with Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19

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Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment

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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Second Department



BACKGROUND: Approximately one-third of COVID-19 survivors will experience persistent symptoms, which may include neurological and psychiatric disturbances. Previous research has suggested that up to 45% of people develop clinically significant depressive symptoms post-COVID. This study sought to determine frequency, symptom profile, and clinical correlates of depression post-COVID. METHODS: Seventy-five participants who had recovered from COVID-19 underwent neurocognitive, psychiatric, medical, and cognitive testing/screening. The primary measures of interest in this report included the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), a 9-item depression-screening tool, and the Endicott Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire. RESULTS: One-third of study participants screened as positive on the PHQ-9 for clinically significant depression, with the most commonly reported symptom being fatigue, followed by sleep disturbance and poor concentration. Also reported were decreased satisfaction in employment, sexual life, and mood. Depressed patients described greater illness severity during COVID-19 infection and subjective cognitive impairment, which was not found on neurocognitive testing. The only significant predictor of depression was COVID-19 illness severity. LIMITATIONS: A significant portion of participants was a clinical population with specific post-COVID complaints and was predominately comprised of white females. Formal psychiatric evaluation was not performed. CONCLUSION: Many individuals may experience depression after COVID-19 infection, with symptoms appearing to be predominately somatic in nature and correspond with COVID-19 illness severity.