Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, access to care, and health disparities in the perinatal period
Department of Psychiatry; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; School of Medicine
Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Infectious Disease | Maternal and Child Health | Mental and Social Health | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Virus Diseases
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected mental health and created barriers to healthcare. In this study, we sought to elucidate the pandemic's effects on mental health and access to care for perinatal individuals.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study of individuals in Massachusetts who were pregnant or up to three months postpartum with a history of depressive symptoms examined associations between demographics and psychiatric symptoms (via validated mental health screening instruments) and the COVID-19 pandemic's effects on mental health and access to care. Chi-square associations and multivariate regression models were used.
RESULTS: Of 163 participants, 80.8% perceived increased symptoms of depression and 88.8% of anxiety due to the pandemic. Positive screens for depression, anxiety, and/or PTSD at time of interview, higher education, and income were associated with increased symptoms of depression and anxiety due to the pandemic. Positive screens for depression, anxiety, and/or PTSD were also associated with perceived changes in access to mental healthcare. Compared to non-Hispanic White participants, participants of color (Black, Asian, Multiracial, and/or Hispanic/Latinx) were more likely to report that the pandemic changed their mental healthcare access (aOR:3.25, 95%CI:1.23, 8.59).
LIMITATIONS: Limitations included study generalizability, given that participants have a history of depressive symptoms, and cross-sectional design.
CONCLUSIONS: The pandemic has increased symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety and impacted perceived access to care. Self-reported increases in depression and anxiety and changes to healthcare access varied by education, race/ethnicity, income, and positive screens. Understanding these differences is important to address perinatal mental health and provide equitable care.
Access to care, Anxiety, COVID-19, pandemic, Depression, Perinatal mental health, Post-traumatic stress disorder
DOI of Published Version
Masters GA, Asipenko E, Bergman AL, Person SD, Brenckle L, Moore Simas TA, Ko JY, Robbins CL, Byatt N. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, access to care, and health disparities in the perinatal period. J Psychiatr Res. 2021 Mar 1;137:126-130. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.02.056. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33677216. Link to article on publisher's site
Journal of psychiatric research
Masters GA, Asipenko E, Bergman A, Bergman AL, Person SD, Brenckle L, Moore Simas T, Ko JY, Robbins CL, Byatt N. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, access to care, and health disparities in the perinatal period. COVID-19 Publications by UMMS Authors. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.02.056. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/covid19/191