Levels of stress and depression rose steadily in the United States as the coronavirus pandemic worsened, researchers reported Friday.

Their study of more than 6,500 people shows conflicting messages on news and social media may have worsened people’s stress, the researchers reported in the journal Science Advances.

“Unlike other studies, our unique study design allowed us to examine population-based trends in the early psychological consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic as it unfolded,” wrote Alison Holman, a specialist in behavioral research and trauma at the University of California Irvine, and colleagues.

They used polling data from three nationally representative groups of people interviewed at 10-day intervals in March and April.

“Approximately a quarter of the sample (23.5%) reported that they or a close other had been exposed to COVID-19 (e.g., experienced symptoms, were diagnosed),” they wrote. Another 30% were exposed at work.

People were immersed in news an average of seven hours a day, they found. Acute stress increased as time went on, the surveys showed.

“Acute stress and depressive symptoms were associated with personal exposure to the but not community exposures,” Holman’s team wrote. This suggests “concerns about contracting the disease outweighed concerns about pandemic-related disruptions in daily life,” they said.

source : CNN


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