Introduction The negative impacts of COVID-19 have rippled through every facet of society. Understanding the multidimensional impacts of this pandemic is crucial to identify the most critical needs and to inform targeted interventions. This population survey study aimed to investigate the acute phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in terms of perceived threats and concerns, occupational and financial impacts, social impacts and stress between 3 April and 15 May 2020.
Methods 6040 participants are included in this report. A multivariate linear regression model was used to identify factors associated with stress changes (as measured by the Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)) relative to pre-outbreak retrospective estimates.
Results On average, PSS scores increased from low stress levels before the outbreak to moderate stress levels during the outbreak (p<0.001). The independent factors associated with stress worsening were: having a mental disorder, female sex, having underage children, heavier alcohol consumption, working with the general public, shorter sleep duration, younger age, less time elapsed since the start of the outbreak, lower stress before the outbreak, worse symptoms that could be linked to COVID-19, lower coping skills, worse obsessive–compulsive symptoms related to germs and contamination, personalities loading on extraversion, conscientiousness and neuroticism, left wing political views, worse family relationships and spending less time exercising and doing artistic activities.
Conclusion Cross-sectional analyses showed a significant increase from low to moderate stress during the COVID-19 outbreak. Identified modifiable factors associated with increased stress may be informative for intervention development.
Trial registration number NCT04369690; Results.
- public health
- mental health
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Contributors RR, TK and JE were involved in project administration and participants’ recruitment as site primary investigators. RR, MS, AN and TK were additionally involved in the following: analyses of data and drafting of the manuscript. RR, MS, JE, ESo, M-HP, AD, SPLV, LQ, KD, AN, JP, RB, ESp, RG, BY, CR, WAG, MG, AB, RS and TK were involved in the following: study conception and design, interpretation of data, revising the manuscript critically for the accuracy and important intellectual content, and final approval of the version to be published. RR, MS, JE, ESo, M-HP, AD, SPLV, LQ, KD, AN, JP, RB, ESp, RG, BY, CR, WAG, MG, AB, RS and TK are accountable for all aspect of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval This study was approved by the Clinical Trials Ontario—Qualified Research Ethics Board via the Ottawa Health Science Network (Protocol number 2131).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Proposals to access data from this study can be submitted to the corresponding author and may be made available upon data sharing agreement.
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