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Risk and protective factors of depression in the general population during the COVID-19 epidemic in Korea

Kim, Sung Wan, Park, In Hoo, Kim, Mina, Park, A-La, Jhon, Min, Kim, Ju Wan, Kang, Hee Ju, Ryu, Seunghyong, Lee, Ju Yeon and Kim, Jae Min (2021) Risk and protective factors of depression in the general population during the COVID-19 epidemic in Korea. BMC Psychiatry, 21 (1). ISSN 1471-244X

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Identification Number: 10.1186/s12888-021-03449-y


Background: The risk of depression has risen in the general population during the COVID-19 epidemic. This study was conducted to explore risk and protective factors associated with depression among the general population uninfected by COVID-19. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 1,500 representative South Korean citizens aged 19–65 years through an anonymous online survey. Depression was defined as a Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score of 10 or higher. Other questionnaires included one measuring psycho-behavioural and social changes, and stress, due to COVID-19, a six-item version of the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6), and a three-item version of the UCLA loneliness scale. Results: Of the 1492 participants not infected by COVID-19, 312 (20.9%) exhibited depression. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that depression was positively associated with COVID-19-related stress and psycho-behavioural variables such as disturbances in eating and sleeping, younger age, smoking, underlying mental illness, and loneliness scale scores. In contrast, exercise three or more times per week and GQ-6 scale scores were inversely associated with depression. Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining daily routines including eating, sleeping, and regular exercise and focusing on gratitude may be important for the prevention of depression. In addition, more attention should be paid to vulnerable populations, including young people, those with mental illnesses, and smokers, who might be more susceptible to depression.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2021 09:57
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2021 01:04

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