New Delhi: A new study found that the coronavirus pandemic has led to elevated levels of loneliness, depression, anxiety and increased substance abuse among young adults in the US.
Almost 80 per cent respondents reported ‘significant’ depressive symptoms, while 61 per cent suffered from moderate to severe anxiety. “These results reveal heightened levels compared to previously documented prevalence of loneliness, anxiety and depression,” the study noted.
A survey for the study was conducted from 22 April to 11 May and 1,008 American respondents, between 18 and 35 years, were enrolled in it via social media platforms. Sites such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter were used to recruit respondents residing in the US. The median age was calculated to be 28 years. Over 86 per cent respondents in the study were more than 23 years old.
Published on 28 October in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, this cross-sectional study aimed to “capture loneliness and psychosocial symptomatology” in young adults during the pandemic.
Around 51 per cent respondents said they were male, and 91 per cent informed they were in school. As many as 76 per cent of the respondents reported themselves as white, 10 per cent as black and 24 per cent as hispanic. At the time of giving this survey, 63 per cent respondents said they lived with at least two to three people.
The study was conducted by Viviana E. Horigan, from the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
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Increased social disconnection
Around 30 per cent respondents revealed ‘harmful or dependent levels of drinking’ and 44 per cent disclosed they were ‘binge drinking’ monthly. Out of all the respondents, 22 per cent admitted to using drugs and 38 per cent admitted to ‘severe’ drug use.
The participants also showed an increase in social disconnection.
“This study serves in identifying maladaptive symptoms and possibly disorders among young adults being hit hard by the restrictions put in place to control the novel coronavirus. The study captures well-defined co-occurence of several clinical symptoms and behaviours among US young adults, during a short window of the nationwide stay-at-home ordinance,” the study said.
It has advocated the need for “prevention and early intervention” to tackle the consequences and impact of the pandemic on the mental health of young adults, both during and after the pandemic.
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