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Psychological Distress and COVID-19–Related Stressors Reported in a Longitudinal Cohort of US Adults in April and July 2020

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Serious psychological distress was reported by 13.6% of US adults in April 2020 vs 3.9% in 2018.1 How psychological distress has changed over the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is unknown.

We fielded wave 2 of the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Civic Life and Public Health Survey from July 7 to July 22, 2020, among US adults aged 18 years and older who responded to wave 1, fielded April 7 to April 13, 2020. The sample was drawn from NORC’s AmeriSpeak panel of approximately 35 000 members sourced from NORC’s area probability sample and from a US Postal Service address-based sample covering 97% of US households.2 AmeriSpeak’s panel recruitment rate is 34%. The survey was administered online. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health institutional review board deemed this study exempt and waived informed consent.

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Accepted for Publication: October 9, 2020.

Published Online: November 23, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.21231

Corresponding Author: Emma E. McGinty, PhD, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N Broadway, Room 359, Baltimore, MD 21205 (bmcginty@jhu.edu).

Author Contributions: Dr McGinty had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: McGinty, Han, Barry.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: McGinty.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Presskreischer, Anderson, Han, Barry.

Statistical analysis: McGinty.

Obtained funding: McGinty, Han, Barry.

Administrative, technical, or material support: McGinty.

Supervision: McGinty, Han, Barry.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Funding/Support: Funding for survey data collection came from Johns Hopkins University, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Alliance for a Healthier World, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Ms Presskreischer gratefully acknowledges support from the National Institute of Mental Health (grant T32MH109436). Ms Anderson gratefully acknowledges support from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (grant T32HS000029).

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

References
1.
McGinty  EE , Presskreischer  R , Han  H , Barry  CL .  Psychological distress and loneliness reported by US adults in 2018 and April 2020.   JAMA. 2020;324(1):93-94. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.9740PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
NORC at the University of Chicago. Technical overview of the AmeriSpeak panel NORC's probability-based household panel. Updated June 18, 2020. Accessed October 7, 2020. https://amerispeak.norc.org/Documents/Research/AmeriSpeak%20Technical%20Overview%202019%2002%2018.pdf
3.
Kessler  RC , Barker  PR , Colpe  LJ ,  et al.  Screening for serious mental illness in the general population.   Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003;60(2):184-189. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.60.2.184PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Slavitt  A.   The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need to address structural challenges of the US health care system.   JAMA Health Forum. 2020; 1(7):e200839-e200839. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2020.0839Google ScholarCrossref
5.
Butler  SM .  After COVID-19—thinking differently about running the health care system.   JAMA Health Forum. 2020;1(4):e200478-e200478. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2020.0478Google ScholarCrossref
6.
American Association for Public Opinion Research. Report on online panels. Accessed May 14, 2020. https://www.aapor.org/Education-Resources/Reports/Report-on-Online-Panels.aspx
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