Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on People with Pre-Existing Chronic Disease Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in anxiety and depression levels across broad populations. While anyone can be infected by the virus, the presence of certain chronic diseases has been shown to exacerbate the severity of the infection. There is a likelihood that knowledge of this information may lead to negative psychological impacts among people with chronic illness. We hypothesized that the pandemic has resulted in increased levels of anxiety and depression symptoms among people with chronic illness. We recruited 540 participants from the ongoing Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study in British Columbia, Canada. Participants were asked to fill out an online survey that included the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) to assess anxiety and depression symptoms. We tested our hypothesis using bivariate and multivariable linear regression models. Out of 540 participants, 15% showed symptoms of anxiety and 17% reported symptoms of depression. We found no significant associations between having a pre-existing chronic illness and reporting higher levels of anxiety or depression symptoms during COVID-19. Our results do not support the hypothesis that having a chronic illness is associated with greater anxiety or depression symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results were similar to one study but in contrast with other studies that found a positive association between the presence of chronic illness and developing anxiety or depression during this pandemic.


  • Budu, Michael Owusu
  • Rugel, Emily J
  • Nocos, Rochelle
  • Teo, Koon
  • Rangarajan, Sumathy
  • Lear, Scott A

publication date

  • June 2, 2021