Differential associations between SARS-CoV-2 infection, perceived burden of the pandemic and mental health in the German population-based cohort for digital health research

Publication date: Feb 14, 2024

Introduction: Understanding the potential adverse effects of the Covid-19-pandemic remains a challenge for public mental health. In this regard, the differentiation between potential consequences of actual infection with SARS-CoV-2 and the subjective burden of the pandemic due to measures and restrictions to daily life remains elusive. Methods: Here we investigated the differential association between infection with SARS-Cov-2 and subjective burden of the pandemic in a study cohort of 7601 participants from the German population-based cohort for digital health research (DigiHero), who were recruited between March 4th and April 25th 2022. Data was collected using the online survey tool LimeSurvey between March and October 2022 in consecutive surveys, which included questionnaires on infection status and symptoms following COVID-19 as well as retrospective assessment of the subjective burden of the pandemic. Results: We observed an association of a past SARS-CoV-2 infection on deteriorated mental health related symptoms, whereas no association or interaction with burden of the pandemic occurred. The association was driven by participants with persistent symptoms 12 weeks after acute infection. On a symptom specific level, neuropsychiatric symptoms such as exhaustion and fatigue, concentration deficits as well as problems with memory function were the primary drivers of the association. Conclusion: Our findings underscore the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infections on mental health in patients suffering from ongoing symptoms 12 weeks after infection. As the association between SARS-CoV-2 infection and mental health appeared more pronounced in populations with higher vulnerability for mental disorders, increased attention should be dedicated towards these subgroups regarding the prevention of infection.

Concepts Keywords
Cardiology Al
Germany Burden
July Cov
S0033291721000015 Covid
Socioeconomic Doi


Type Source Name
disease MESH SARS-CoV-2 infection
pathway REACTOME SARS-CoV-2 Infection
disease VO population
disease MESH infection
disease IDO acute infection
disease IDO symptom
disease MESH mental disorders
disease IDO intervention
disease MESH Long COVID
disease MESH respiratory infections
disease MESH Syndrome
disease MESH cognitive impairment
disease MESH post traumatic stress disorder
disease MESH sequelae
disease VO frequency
disease MESH gastrointestinal disorders
disease MESH sleep disorder
disease IDO history
disease MESH neurological disorders
disease MESH amnesia
disease MESH long term infection
disease MESH low socioeconomic status
disease VO Gap
disease MESH Autoimmune Diseases
disease MESH Mood Disorders
disease VO vaccination
disease MESH Infectious Diseases

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