Psychiatry Investig.  2021 Sep;18(9):801-808. 10.30773/pi.2021.0125.

COVID-19 and Risk Factors of Anxiety and Depression in South Korea

  • 1Department of Social Welfare, Daegu University, Daegu, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Social Welfare, Sangji University, Wonju, Republic of Korea
  • 3Red Cross College of Nursing, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 4Department of Psychology, Keimyung University, Daegu, Republic of Korea
  • 5Department of Social Welfare, Nambu University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Kyung Hee University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 7Department of Psychology, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea
  • 8Department of Social Welfare, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 9Department of Psychiatry, National Center for Mental Health, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 10Department of Psychiatry, National Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 11Department of Social Welfare, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Cheongju University, Cheongju, Republic of Korea


The aims of this study were to explore the prevalence of and identify predictors of anxiety and depression related to coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) in South Korea.
The analysis is based on a quota survey design and a sampling frame that permitted recruitment of a national sample of 1,014 individuals between March 17–31, 2020. Several standardized measurements were used, including GAD-7, PHQ-9, COVID-19 related fear, restrictions in deaily life, as well as sociodemographic information and physical and psychosocial needs during the pandemic. Multiple logistic regression was conducted to analyze the influence of sociodemographic factors, fear, and physical/psychosocial needs on anxiety and depression.
Significant numbers of the respondents were identifiable anxiety (19.0%) and depression group (17.5%), respectively. This indicates that the depression and anxiety prevalence rate after the COVID-19 is substantially high compared to the depression rate of 2.6% in 2020 and 2.8% in 2018 both reported in the Korea Community Health Survey and the anxiety rate of 5.7% reported in 2016 Survey of Mental Disorders in Korea. Multiple logistic regression results showed age, COVID-19 related fear, and the level of restrictions in daily as significant factors in understanding and predicting the anxiety group. Likfewise, the COVID-19 related fear, restrictions in daily life, and need for economic support were important predictors in predicting the depression group.
Findings on predictors for greater vulnerability to anxiety and depression has important implications for public mental health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.


COVID-19; Risk factors; Anxiety; Depression
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