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Psychological State and Associated Factors During the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic Among Filipinos with Rheumatoid Arthritis or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Authors Tee CA, Salido EO, Reyes PWC, Ho RC, Tee ML

Received 6 July 2020

Accepted for publication 2 September 2020

Published 22 September 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 215—222


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Chuan-Ju Liu

Cherica A Tee,1 Evelyn O Salido,2 Patrick Wincy C Reyes,3 Roger C Ho,4 Michael L Tee5

1Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines; 2Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines; 3School of Statistics, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines; 4Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge, Singapore; 5Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines

Correspondence: Cherica A Tee
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines, Manila 1000, Philippines
Email [email protected]

Background: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are perceived to be more vulnerable to worse COVID-19 infection outcome. Furthermore, severe shortage in hydroxychloroquine supply was experienced.
Objective: We presented the psychological responses of Filipino SLE and RA patients to the COVID-19 pandemic and shortage of hydroxychloroquine supply.
Methods: A total of 512 completed online surveys from SLE and RA patients were gathered from May 19 to 26, 2020. The online survey collected data on socio-demographics, health status, contact history, health service utilization, use of hydroxychloroquine, COVID-19 knowledge and concerns, precautionary measures, information needs, the validated Impact of Events Scale-Revised (IES-R) and Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS-21) ratings.
Results: The psychological impact of COVID-19 outbreak was at least moderate in 20%. The mean IES-R score was higher among SLE (22.34, SD=14.39) than RA (18.85, SD=13.24) patients. Stress, anxiety and depression were moderate to severe in 12.3%, 38.7%, and 27.7% of respondents. The mean stress subscale score was 10.11 (SD=7.95), mean anxiety subscale score was 6.79 (SD=6.57) and mean depression subscale score was 9.03 (SD=8.77). The risk factors for adverse mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic include the presence of comorbidity of hypertension and asthma; being a healthcare worker; and presence of specific symptoms of myalgia, cough, breathing difficulty, dizziness and sore throat. The protective factors for mental health during the pandemic include satisfaction with available health information and wearing of face masks.
Conclusion: In the third month of the pandemic in the Philippines, 20% of the respondents with lupus and RA experienced moderate to severe psychological impact. There was moderate to severe anxiety in 38.7% and moderate to severe depression in 27%. Identification of factors that affect mental health in lupus and RA is useful in implementation of effective psychological support strategies.

Keywords: mental health, RA, SLE, Philippines

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