The role of perceived social support on depression and sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Psychiatry Research


© 2020 The aim of the present study was to examine the role of perceived social support pertaining to a range of psychological health outcomes amongst individuals undergoing social isolation and social distancing during COVID-19. A total of 2,020 participants provided responses to an online cross-sectional survey comprised of validated instruments including the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the Brief Irritability Test (BITe) and the UCLA Loneliness Scale (UCLA-LS). Individuals experiencing self-isolation had significantly higher rates of depression, irritability and loneliness compared to those who were not. The risk for elevated levels of depression symptoms was 63% lower in individuals who reported higher levels of social support compared to those with low perceived social support. Similarly, those with high social support had a 52% lower risk of poor sleep quality compared to those with low social support. Social support was found to be significantly associated with elevated risk for depression and poorer sleep quality. The results contribute to our understanding of differential psychological outcomes for individuals experiencing anti-pandemic measures.

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