J Korean Med Sci.  2021 Nov;36(46):e322. 10.3346/jkms.2021.36.e322.

Impact of the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic on Mental Health among Local Residents in Korea: a Cross Sectional Study

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Gwangmyeong City Health Center, Gwangmyeong, Korea


This study aimed to evaluate traumatic stress and mental health problems associated with the prolonged coronavirus disease pandemic and to determine the differences across different age groups.
A total of 1,151 individuals who visited Gwangmyeong City Mental Health Welfare Center, South Korea, or accessed the website from September 1 to December 31, 2020, were included in the study. Mental health problems such as traumatic stress (Primary Care Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Screen for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-5); depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Children's Depression Inventory); anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 and Penn State Worry Questionnaire for Children); suicide risk (P4 Screener); and demographic information were evaluated. The participants were divided into three groups based on age group: children and adolescents, adults, and the elderly.
The results showed that 24.7%, 20.9%, 16.8%, and 20.5% of the participants were at high-risk for traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and suicide, respectively. The difference in the proportion of high-risk groups by age of all participants was significant for traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and suicide risk. In particular, the percentage of high-risk groups in all areas was the highest in the adult group. Also, in most areas, the ratio of the high-risk groups for children and adolescent group was the lowest, but the suicide risk-related ratio was not (adolescent group: 20.9%, adult group: 25%, elderly group 9.3%).
These results suggest that there is a need for continued interest in the mental health of the general population even after the initial period of coronavirus disease. Additionally, this study may be helpful when considering the resilience or risk factors of mental health in a prolonged disaster situation.


COVID-19; Traumatic Stress; Depression; Anxiety; Suicide Risk; Age Differences
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