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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 181-189

A cross-sectional study of psychological distress and fear of COVID-19 in the general population of India during lockdown

1 Department of Psychiatry, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, BRLSABVM Government Medical College, Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anantprakash Siddharthkumar Saraf
BRLSABVM Government Medical College, Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_54_20

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Context: With relatively high transmission rate and fatal potential, the COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for widespread fear and psychological distress all over the world, including India. Aim: Assessment of these problems in the general population is the first step to address this problem. Settings and Design: We did an online survey using snowball sampling strategy through various social media communication platforms. Materials and Methods: Semi-structured format was used to collect sociodemographic data and COVID-19-related information. The Kessler's Psychological Distress Scale (K10) and the Fear of COVID-19 Scale were used for assessment psychological distress and fear, respectively. Results: A total of 530 study respondents had adequate participation from all socioeconomic strata, diverse educational and professional backgrounds, and from all parts of the country. Majority of the participants were from red zone districts of lockdown (72.8%) and considered the imposed lockdown as essential (98.7%), although many of them reported negative impact on their psychological state (38.9%). A substantial number (38%) of people reported psychological distress significantly (P < 0.05) associated with females, unmarried, students, lower socioeconomic status (SES), caretakers of COVID-19 patients, poor perceived physical health, and higher score on the Fear of COVID-19 Scale. Female participants and those belonging to lower SES and a red zone district also reported significantly (P < 0.05) higher degree of fear of COVID-19. Despite this, only about 10.9% of the respondents sought help through telephonic or online counseling and most (91.4%) of them found it helpful. Conclusions: The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on psychological health is catastrophic. Planned measures at local as well as national level are essential to avert this crisis.

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