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Profiles of risk factors for depressive and anxiety symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: A latent class analysis.

Psychiatry Research 2023 March 6
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a high burden in the general population. The exposure to an accumulation of risk factors, as opposed to a single risk, may have been associated with higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms during the pandemic. This study aimed to (1) identify subgroups of individuals with distinct constellations of risk factors during the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) investigate differences in levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms. German participants (N = 2245) were recruited between June-September 2020 through an online survey (ADJUST study). Latent class analysis (LCA) and multiple group analyses (Wald-tests) were conducted to identify profiles of risk factors and examine differences in symptoms of depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-2). The LCA included 14 robust risk factors of different domains, for example, sociodemographic (e.g., age), health-related (e.g., trauma), and pandemic-related (e.g., reduced income) factors. The LCA identified three risk profiles: High sociodemographic risk (11.7%), high social and moderate health-related risk (18.0%), and low general risk (70.3%). Individuals with high sociodemographic risk reported significantly higher symptom levels of depression and anxiety than the remaining groups. A better understanding of risk factor profiles could help to develop targeted prevention and intervention programs during pandemics.

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