Background: Owing to the health impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a significant impact on public psychological well-being was reported. Therefore, monitoring mental health during this pandemic is a priority. This study aimed to explore the prevalence of depression and anxiety among people under quarantine during the COVID-19 outbreak in Saudi Arabia.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of a convenience sample of 65 participants who were quarantined at hotels under the supervision of the Saudi Ministry of Health. The patient health questionnaire and generalized anxiety disorder questionnaire were used to assess depression and anxiety.
Results: Approximately half of the participants had depression or anxiety symptoms (49.2% and 44.6%, respectively). The depression mean score was significantly higher in the 18-29 age group (p < 0.01); it was also higher among females than males (7.36 ± 6.88 and 7.05 ± 6.08, respectively) and among participants with positive COVID-19 test results than in those with pending or negative results (14 and 12, respectively). The mean anxiety score was higher during the first week of quarantine, but the mean depression score was higher during the later weeks (6.28 ± 6.64 and 6.36 ± 4.88, respectively).
Conclusion: Depression and anxiety were prevalent among people confined in quarantine during the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Saudi Arabia. It is crucial to study and identify the most effective interventions to reduce psychological consequences, especially for the vulnerable groups. Longitudinal research studies are needed to follow-up on participants mental health symptoms and for evidence-based interventions.
Key words: Depression, anxiety, quarantine, COVID-19