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23 September 2020 : Clinical Research  

Evaluation of Factors Associated with Anxiety and Depression in Chinese Visiting Scholars in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic Assessed by Online Questionnaires

Yanjie Zhao12ABE*, Ping Wang3ADE, Jiangping Wu1BD, Ruibin Wang4DF, Qingkun Song5ACFG

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.926602

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e926602

Abstract

BACKGROUND: This study aimed to use online questionnaires to evaluate the factors associated with anxiety and depression in Chinese visiting scholars in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Using a cross-sectional design, 311 Chinese scholars visiting 41 states in the United States were interviewed on 20 and 21 April 2020 through WeChat using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) questionnaire.

RESULTS: Of these 311 visiting scholars, 69 (22.2%) reported no symptoms of anxiety or depression, whereas 63 (20.3%) reported severe anxiety and 67 (21.5%) reported severe depression. Risk of anxiety was 93% higher in visiting scholars with than without accompanying parents in the US (odds ratio [OR], 1.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01–3.68) and was 1.72-fold (95% CI, 1.04–2.84) higher in those experiencing stress about family members with COVID-19. Stresses about personal security and return to China on schedule were associated with 1.73-fold (95% CI, 1.03–2.92) and 3.00-fold (95% CI, 1.51–5.95) higher risks of anxiety, respectively. Risks of depression were 1.86-fold (95% CI, 1.14–3.05), 1.84-fold (95% CI, 1.10–3.07), and 3.45-fold (95% CI, 1.72–6.92) higher in visiting Chinese scholars who were than were not experiencing stresses about financial support, personal security and return to China on schedule, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Chinese scholars visiting the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic experienced severe psychological distress. Surveys that include larger numbers of visiting scholars are warranted.

Keywords: Anxiety, COVID-19, Depression

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Med Sci Monit 2021; 27:e935624

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750