We read the correspondence as well as the study by Dreßing et al with great interest (1). Both studies (1, 2) implied that a certain amount of individual resilience and risk factors affect mental stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Differences emerged in the comparison of mental stress in the general population before and during the pandemic.
Our results were based on the COVID-19-Snapshot-Monitoring (COSMO) panel and found a slight increase in mental stress (anxiety, low mood, loneliness, and hopelessness) in the population during the COIVID-19 pandemic compared with (prepandemic) standard data, whereas the results by Kuehner and colleagues descriptively showed slightly increased mental stress in a Mannheim sample of 721 persons, which, however, did not differ significantly from comparison data from Mannheim from 2018 (N=444).
Our data came from three cross sectional samples representative for Germany with N>1000 participants each, and we compared the values with validation samples (N>1000) from the respective questionnaires. One reason for the differences may be the sample sizes; the slightly increased means in the study by Kuehner et al may potentially have reached significance if the sample had been bigger.
Ultimately, both studies showed favorable results: mental stress in the general population has increased only very slightly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic—which contrasts with popular opinion. At the same time, the study by Kuehner et al showed even more clearly the differential role of factors such as age, sex, individual personal characteristics, and resilience in dealing with mental stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, which underlines the importance of studying the effects of the pandemic on risk groups to a greater degree.
On behalf of the authors
Dr. phil. Dipl.-Psych. Donya Gilan
Markus Müssig, M.Sc.
Prof. Dr. med. Klaus Lieb
Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Universität Mainz
Leibniz-Institut für Resilienzforschung Mainz
Conflict of interest statement
The authors of both contributions declare that no conflict of interest exists.
|1.||Kuehner C, Schultz K, Gass P, Meyer-Lindenberg A, Dreßing H: [Mental Health Status in the Community During the COVID-19-Pandemic]. Psychiatr Prax 2020; 47: 361–9 CrossRef MEDLINE PubMed Central|
|2.||Gilan D, Röthke N, Blessin M, et al.: Psychomorbidity, resilience, and exacerbating and protective factors during the SARS-CoV-2-pandemic—a systematic literature review and results from the German COSMO-PANEL. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2020; 117: 625–32 VOLLTEXT|