Published in Psychiatry Research August 21st, 2022.


Authors: Sverre Urnes Johnson, Ole Myklebust Amundsen, Miriam Sinkerud Johnson, Asle Hoffart, Øyvind Halsøy, Nora Skjerdingstad, Sara Ebling and Omid V. Ebrahimi


The present study investigates differences in the trajectories of anxiety, depression, and sleep problems among infected versus non-infected case-controlled individuals. Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were selected from a representative sample in Norway (N > 10,000). In total, 126 of these individuals were infected during the project period, and this group was analyzed at T5 (May 2021). Of these positive cases, those who had completed both PHQ-9 and GAD-7 at all three measurement points were selected for longitudinal analysis using multilevel modeling. There was a significant difference at T5 between those who had tested positive for COVID-19 and matched controls. Anxiety and depression were reduced among those who tested positive, but there were no differences in trajectory when compared to matched controls. Limitations include the use of self-report measures and the assessment of symptoms at a time when strict virus mitigation protocols were in place. The present findings indicate that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 exhibit higher levels of depressive symptoms after restrictions are lifted. However, comparison of anxiety and depression symptom trajectories with matched controls reveals that both groups exhibited stable or slightly decreased symptoms.