Escalating progression of mental health disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from a nationwide survey

Wong, Li Ping and Alias, Haridah and Fuzi, Afiqah Alyaa Md and Omar, Intan Sofia and Mohamad Nor, Azmawaty and Tan, Maw Pin and Baranovich, Diana Lea and Saari, Che Zarrina and Hamzah, Sareena Hanim and Cheong, Ku Wing and Poon, Chiew Hwa and Ramoo, Vimala and Che, Chong Chin and Myint, Kyaimon and Zainuddin, Suria and Chung, Ivy (2021) Escalating progression of mental health disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from a nationwide survey. PLoS ONE, 16 (3). ISSN 1932-6203, DOI

Full text not available from this repository.


Since the first nationwide movement control order was implemented on 18 March 2020 in Malaysia to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, to what extent the uncertainty and continuous containment measures have imposed psychological burdens on the population is unknown. This study aimed to measure the level of mental health of the Malaysian public approximately 2 months after the pandemic's onset. Between 12 May and 5 September 2020, an anonymous online survey was conducted. The target group included all members of the Malaysian population aged 18 years and above. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) was used to assess mental health. There were increased depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms throughout the study period, with the depression rates showing the greatest increase. During the end of the data collection period (4 August-5 September 2020), there were high percentages of reported depressive (59.2%) and anxiety (55.1%) symptoms compared with stress (30.6%) symptoms. Perceived health status was the strongest significant predictor for depressive and anxiety symptoms. Individuals with a poorer health perception had higher odds of developing depression (odds ratio OR] = 5.68; 95% confidence interval CI] 3.81-8.47) and anxiety (OR = 3.50; 95%CI 2.37-5.17) compared with those with a higher health perception. By demographics, young people-particularly students, females and people with poor financial conditions-were more vulnerable to mental health symptoms. These findings provide an urgent call for increased attention to detect and provide intervention strategies to combat the increasing rate of mental health problems in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Funders: Universiti Malaya COVID-19 Implementation Research Grant [RG564-2020HWB]
Uncontrolled Keywords: Stress Scales Dass-21; General-Population; Impact; Anxiety; Depression; Prevalence; Students; Suicide; Gender
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Academy of Islamic Studies > Dept of Aqidah & Islamic Thought
Faculty of Education
Faculty of Medicine > School of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine > Nursing Science Department
Faculty of Sports and Exercise Science (formerly known as Centre for Sports & Exercise Sciences)
Faculty of Business and Economics > Department of Accounting
Faculty of Creative Arts (formerly known as the Cultural Centre) > Music Department
Faculty of Pharmacy
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2022 01:03
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2022 01:03

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item