The influence of concern about COVID-19 on mental health in the Republic of Georgia: a cross-sectional study

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Background: Early evidence indicates increased mental health burden arising from COVID-19 and related control measures. The study aim was to examine concern about COVID-19 and its association with symptoms of mental disorders in the Republic of Georgia. A cross-sectional internet-based survey of adults in Georgia using non-probabilistic sampling was used. Questionnaire topics were: (i) demographic and socio-economic characteristics; (ii) level of burden caused by common causes of COVID-19 related concerns; (iii) strategies used in response to concerns about COVID-19; and (iv) symptoms of mental disorders of anxiety (GAD-7), depression (PHQ-9), PTSD (ITQ) and adjustment disorder (ADNM8). Descriptive and multivariate analyses were conducted. Results: There were 2088 respondents. High levels of symptoms for mental disorders were observed for anxiety (23.9% women, 21.0% men), depression (30.3% women, 25.27% men), PTSD (11.8% women, and 12.5% men), and adjustment disorder (40.7% women, 31.0% men). Factors significantly associated with increased COVID-19 concern included bad/very bad household economic situation, larger household size, current NCD, symptoms of anxiety, adjustment disorder and PTSD. Response strategies significantly associated with reduced mental disorder symptoms included meditation and relaxation exercises, physical exercise, positive thinking, planning for the future, TV/radio, housework/DIY, and working. Drinking alcohol was associated with a greater probability of increased mental disorder symptoms. Conclusions: High levels of mental disorders were recorded, and they were strongly associated with increased concern about COVID-19. A number of response strategies were identified which may help protect against worse mental health and these could be supported by innovations in mental health care in Georgia.

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Makhashvili, N., Javakhishvili, J. D., Sturua, L., Pilauri, K., Fuhr, D. C., & Roberts, B. (2020). The influence of concern about COVID-19 on mental health in the Republic of Georgia: a cross-sectional study. Globalization and Health, 16(1).

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