Psychological Distress and COVID-19–Related Stressors Reported in a Longitudinal Cohort of US Adults in April and July 2020 | Psychiatry | JAMA | JAMA Network
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    2 Comments for this article
    Psychological Distress throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Rainer Spiegel, MD, PhD | BG Trauma Center Tuebingen and Tuebingen University Hospital
    McGinty and colleagues [1] provide evidence that the reports of serious psychological distress remained high throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as there were no statistically significant differences between April and July 2020. Due to the sheer number of surveyed adults and the high response rate of over 91 percent, a sufficiently high statistical power can be assumed. The enormous sample size would have made it likely to find statistically significant differences in the sample should they have existed in the population. In summary, this is a convincing demonstration that people continuously experience serious psychological distress throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The only aspect that puzzles me is that the discussion section refers to 13 % of serious psychological distress in July 2020 relative to 13.6 % in April 2020, whereas the results section reports 13 % in July 2020 relative to 14.2 % in April 2020. In terms of the overall conclusions, however, this is unlikely to make any difference.


    1. McGinty EE, Presskreischer R, Anderson KE et al. Psychological Distress and COVID-19–Related Stressors Reported in a Longitudinal Cohort of US Adults in April and July 2020. JAMA. 23 Nov 2020 doi:10.1001/jama.2020.21231
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: I own stocks of a ventilator/respirator company
    Loneliness, Social Distancing, Lack of Touch
    Edward Volpintesta, MD | Retired general practice
    They authors mentioned that “disruptions to education, employment, and finances” all worsened the mental health of the adults studied, but loneliness, social distancing, and lack of physical contact were not mentioned. Their impact on mental health is significant.
    Views 17,117
    Citations 0
    Research Letter
    November 23, 2020

    Psychological Distress and COVID-19–Related Stressors Reported in a Longitudinal Cohort of US Adults in April and July 2020

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
    • 2Department of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
    JAMA. 2020;324(24):2555-2557. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.21231

    Serious psychological distress was reported by 13.6% of US adults in April 2020 vs 3.9% in 2018.1 How psychological distress has changed over the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is unknown.

    We fielded wave 2 of the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Civic Life and Public Health Survey from July 7 to July 22, 2020, among US adults aged 18 years and older who responded to wave 1, fielded April 7 to April 13, 2020. The sample was drawn from NORC’s AmeriSpeak panel of approximately 35 000 members sourced from NORC’s area probability sample and from a US Postal Service address-based sample covering 97% of US households.2 AmeriSpeak’s panel recruitment rate is 34%. The survey was administered online. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health institutional review board deemed this study exempt and waived informed consent.