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Trends in Psychological Distress Among US Adults During Different Phases of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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

Whether elevated psychological distress among US adults documented in the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic1 has persisted through mid-2021 is unknown. We fielded a national survey to assess trends in psychological distress among US adults during 4 different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

This survey study was deemed exempt by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Institutional Review Board by virtue of it being an anonymous survey, and informed consent was waived. The study follows the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) reporting guideline for probability-based internet panels by reporting panel recruitment, survey completion, and cumulative response rates.

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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: November 29, 2021.

Published: January 24, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.44776

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2022 McGinty EE et al. JAMA Network Open.

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: Presskreischer, Han, Barry.

Drafting of the manuscript: McGinty.

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

Statistical analysis: McGinty.

Obtained funding: McGinty, Han, Barry.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Barry.

Supervision: McGinty, Barry.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Funding/Support: Funding for survey data collection was provided by Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Alliance for a Healthier World, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Alliance for a Healthier World, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 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
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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.2020.9740 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Dennis  MJ .  Technical overview of the AmeriSpeak Panel: NORC’s probability-based household panel. 2019. Accessed May 13, 2020. https://amerispeak.norc.org/Documents/Research/AmeriSpeak%20Technical%20Overview%202019%2002%2018.pdf
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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.60.2.184 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Tomitaka  S , Kawasaki  Y , Ide  K , Akutagawa  M , Ono  Y , Furukawa  TA .  Distribution of psychological distress is stable in recent decades and follows an exponential pattern in the US population.   Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):11982. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-47322-1 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Daly  M , Robinson  E .  Psychological distress and adaptation to the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.   J Psychiatr Res. 2021;136:603-609. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.10.035 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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