Publication Date



Journal of Primary Care and Community Health


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Understanding the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on persons receiving COVID-19 testing will help guide mental health interventions. We aimed to determine the association between sociodemographic factors and mental health symptoms at 8 weeks (baseline) after a COVID-19 test, and compare prevalence of mental health symptoms at baseline to those at 16-week follow-up.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Prospective cohort study of adults who received outpatient COVID-19 testing at primary care clinics. Logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association between sociodemographic characteristics and COVID-19 test results with mental health symptoms. Mental health symptoms reported at baseline were compared to symptoms at 16 weeks follow-up using conditional logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS: At baseline, a total of 124 (47.51%) participants reported at least mild depressive symptoms, 110 (42.15%) participants endorsed at least mild anxiety symptoms, and 94 participants (35.21%) endorsed hazardous use of alcohol. Females compared to males were at increased risk of at least mild depressive symptoms at baseline (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR): 2.08; 95% CI: 1.14-3.79). The odds of at least mild depressive symptoms was significantly lower among those residing in zip codes within the highest quartile compared to lowest quartile of household income (AOR: 0.37; 95% CI: 0.17-0.81). Also, non-Hispanic Whites had significantly higher odds of reporting hazardous alcohol use compared to non-Whites at baseline (AOR: 1.94; 95% CI: 1.05-3.57). The prevalence of mental health symptoms remained elevated after 16 weeks.

CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: We found a high burden of symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as hazardous alcohol use in a diverse population who received testing for COVID-19 in the primary care setting. Primary care providers need to remain vigilant in screening for symptoms of mental health disorders in patients tested for COVID-19 well after initial testing.


Adult, Anxiety, COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Health, Pandemics, Prevalence, Prospective Studies, SARS-CoV-2



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