A longitudinal assessment of depression and anxiety in the Republic of Ireland before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Philip Hyland, M Shevlin, Jamie Murphy, Orla McBride, Robert Fox, Kristina Bondjers, Thanos Karatzias, Richard P. Bentall, Anton P Martinez, Frédérique Vallières

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Few studies have examined changes in mental health before and after the outbreak of COVID-19. We examined changes in the prevalence of major depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) between February 2019 and March-April 2020; if there were changes in major depression and GAD during six weeks of nationwide lockdown; and we identified factors that predicted major depression and GAD across the six-week lockdown period. Nationally representative samples of Irish adults were gathered using identical methods in February 2019 (N = 1020) and March-April 2020 (N = 1041). The latter was reassessed six weeks later. Significantly more people screened positive for depression in February 2019 (29.8% 95% CI = 27.0, 32.6) than in March-April 2020 (22.8% 95% CI = 20.2, 25.3), and there was no change in GAD. There were no significant changes in depression and GAD during the lockdown. Major depression was predicted by younger age, non-city dwelling, lower resilience, higher loneliness, and higher somatic problems. GAD was predicted by a broader set of variables including several COVID-19 specific variables. These findings indicate that the prevalence of major depression and GAD did not increase as a result of, or during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113905
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalPsychiatry research
Early online date31 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.


  • depression
  • anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • longitudinal
  • mental health
  • Longitudinal
  • Mental health
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety/epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • Prevalence
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Depressive Disorder/epidemiology
  • COVID-19/psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders/epidemiology
  • Young Adult
  • Depression/epidemiology
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Ireland/epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Adolescent
  • Loneliness
  • Aged


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