BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic led individuals to suffer from different levels of mental health problems such as psychological distress, anxiety, depression, denial, panic, and fear . This study aimed at determining the prevalence of psychological distress and associated factors among the Ethiopian population during the COVID-19 pandemic .
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed through an online survey using different online platforms . The questionnaire was created through Google Form and the survey link was administered by e-mail, LinkedIn, Telegram, and Facebook . Educated Ethiopian population who have access to the internet were invited to participate through an online survey and addressed to 929 respondents . The study participants completed the survey anonymously without any personal identifier . The psychological distress was assessed using the Kessler 10-item tool to measure psychological distress . Data were analyzed using SPSS and logistic regression to examine mutually adjusted associations, expressed as adjusted odds ratios . A generalized additive model was also employed to identify additional predictors using R.
RESULTS: The prevalence of high psychological distress among the study population was 236 (25.5 %). Of all respondents , 421 (45.1 %) had low psychological distress, 274 (29.4 %) had moderate psychological distress, 164 (17.6 %) had high psychological distress, and 72 (7.3 %) had very high psychological distress . Psychological distress increased with being at young and middle-aged adults, getting information from social media, and not correctly practicing infection prevention and control measures to prevent COVID-19 infection . Respondents with high perceived severity had increased psychological distress . On the contrary, those with the highest score of perceived response efficacy had low distress .
CONCLUSION: Prevalence of psychological distress was substantial . The need for intervention of psychological distress inline with the prevention of COVID-19 is critically essential . The intervention target groups are those whose information sources are from social media, young and middle-aged adults, and those who do not correctly practice infection prevention and control measures against COVID-19 infection.
Index: COVID-19, Ethiopia, Online survey, Pandemic, Psychological distress