‘It’s the economy, stupid’: Lessons of a longitudinal study of depression in Argentina
Gobbo, María Emilia
Torres, Víctor Eduardo Roque
Aschieri, María Emilia
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Aim: The aim of this study is to determine the variation in the prevalence of depression since the beginning of the quarantine and the evolution of risk factors, with special emphasis on the population’s concerns. Methods: A longitudinal study was carried out using a digital questionnaire disseminated in social networks. The first stage (T1) was carried out from March 29 to April 12 and the second stage (T2) from May 23 to June 12, 2020. The prevalence of depression was measured using the 9-item Patients Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Results: The prevalence of moderate/severe depression increased from 24.3% in T1 to 47.8% in T2 (p: 0.000). Risk factors increased significantly: age 18–27, female, primary and secondary school, smoking and having a poor sleep quality (p: 0.000). The concerns about ‘a family member getting sick’ (OR: 1.28; CI: 1.04–1.58; p: 0.016), ‘changes at work’ (OR: 2.24; CI: 1.79–2.81; p: 0.000), ‘running out of money’ (OR: 1.43; CI: 1.20–1.71; p: 0.000) and ‘being unemployed’ (OR: 2.99; CI: 2.55–3.52; p: 0.000) were risk factors for depression. On the other hand, the concern about ‘getting the virus’ (OR: 0.73; CI: 0.61–0.87; p: 0.001) was not a risk factor. Conclusions: The extended quarantine in Argentina is associated with an increase in the prevalence of depression; the high impact of economic and social concerns on mental health must be considered in order to avoid long-term effects.
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