estimates that 13.6%, or one in seven Canadians, experienced clinical severity of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pre-pandemic, previous research had put a 12-month GAD prevalence in Canada at 2.6%).
Additionally, research shows that high anxiety in men is associated with exposure to COVID-19 misinformation, while anxiety in women is associated with precarious employment. The prevalence of Generalized Anxiety Disorder was significantly higher in women than in men (17.2% vs 9.9%), respectively.
Lead author Shen (Lamson) Lin, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Department of Social Work, said: “Basically we were trying to understand the social factors that contribute to these factors. this striking difference.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is the first to coincide with the widespread use of social media, which has facilitated the spread of misinformation, such as rumors about vaccines and medical treatments. unproven treatment, also known as the COVID-19 epidemic. My research found that chronic exposure to fake COVID-19 news is associated with mental health outcomes , especially for men.”
As exposure to suspected COVID-19 misinformation among men increases, so does the prevalence of anxiety disorders.
Men in the lowest exposure group (i.e. those who reported being exposed to misinformation at least once a week) were three times more likely to experience anxiety, while men in the the highest-exposed group (i.e., those who reported being exposed to misinformation several times a day) were six and a half times more likely to report clinically significant anxiety than those who report that they rarely or never see COVID-19 misinformation.
Women’s anxiety levels are more likely to be influenced by increased levels of job insecurity due to business closures, layoffs, mandatory quarantines, and COVID-19 infections.
Women who experienced job insecurity during a pandemic were three times more likely to develop Generalized Anxiety Disorder than women who worked safely, after controlling for risk factors. interference, including sociological factors. Male preference for employment was not correlated with anxiety disorders, possibly because the degree of job insecurity is not evenly distributed between the sexes.
“Sex-based occupational segregation leads to women making up the majority of the health and social care workforce, where they are often underpaid and at risk of exposure to pathogens,” says Lin. COVID-19 is higher”. “Women also make up the majority of the food service and accommodation sectors, which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.”
The study analyzed public data from the Canadian Perspective Survey Chain that included 1,753 men and 2,016 women aged 15 years and older.
Anxiety symptoms were assessed using the Standardized Anxiety Disorders-7 (GAD-7) scale that rates symptoms such as feeling anxious, not being able to control anxiety, difficulty relaxing, and easily becoming anxious. discomfort for the past two weeks.
Additionally, this study also identified common risk factors for anxiety disorders for both sexes, including increased drinking, marijuana, and junk/sweet foods during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Mental health interventions need to be gender responsive,” says Lin. “They should also address the upstream social determinants of health during this public health emergency.”