Lockdown, Social Media exposure regarding COVID-19 and the relation with
self-assessment depression and anxiety. Is the medical staff different?
Introduction. Locking the humanity in their homes, COVID-19 forced
people to use the technology at hand to keep informed about the outbreak
and to keep close to their loved ones. During this time, even if
physical health is theoretically unaffected, keeping calm and sane can
be challenging. The aim of this research was to evaluate whether
exposure to COVID-19 information available in the digital space has a
different impact on the mental condition of Romanian medical staff,
compared to general population, particularly searching for depression
and anxiety symptoms. Materials and methods. An online survey was
conducted from April 6 to 16, 2020 within the Romanian users of Social
Media platforms. The questionnaire assessed depression with the WHO-Five
Well-Being Index, anxiety with the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale
and Social Media exposure by asking how often the respondents saw
COVID-19 related information on the most popular Social Media channels
in Romania. Information about: gender, age, educational level,
occupation, area of living and risk category was also collected. The
risk categories were defined as no risk, medium risk, and medical staff.
Results. Almost 90% of the 402 participants received daily through at
least one Social Media channel information related to the COVID-19
outbreak. The Social Media Exposure significantly associated with the
risk group only for Facebook and LinkedIn. However, exposure to
information regarding COVID-19 was neither associated with anxiety nor
depression. No significant association was identified neither between
age class and self-assessed anxiety nor self-assessed depression. The
self-assessment of depression was significantly more frequent as
compared to self-assessment of anxiety. Conclusion. The results of this
research are opposite to most of the already published literature.
Depression and anxiety could not be correlated with the context of
lockdown and excessive COVID-19-related information.