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Loneliness, Depression Tied to Higher Risk for COVID-19 Hospitalization

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

A survey of nurses and their children suggests feelings of depression and loneliness could mean a higher risk of hospitalization after a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Between April 2020 (baseline) and April 2021, investigators followed more than 54,000 people from three ongoing cohorts: Nurses' Health Study II, Nurses' Health Study 3, and the Growing Up Today Study. No one reported current or previous COVID-19 infection at baseline. The authors measured depression, anxiety, perceived stress, worry about COVID-19, and loneliness at baseline. Participants self-reported COVID-19 infections and hospitalization.

More than 3,600 people self-reported a COVID-19 diagnosis during follow-up. Those who scored high on likely indicators of depression (probable depression) when the study began were 81% more likely to be hospitalized than those who did not. Those who expressed feelings of worry about the pandemic and loneliness were much more likely to be hospitalized. The authors called for more research into how and whether improving psychological factors can improve physical outcomes.

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Hospital Case Management.