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Anxiety and depression are associated with medical care avoidance during the pandemic — ScienceDaily

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been empirical and anecdotal reports of declines in both emergency and ambulatory medical visits. However, little research has been conducted to identify why these declines have occurred. New research now shows a strong association between mental health symptoms and medical care avoidance.

Among a sample of over 73,000 U.S. adults from the Household Pulse Survey, a weekly survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that aims to collect data on the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, researchers found that adults who experienced four common symptoms of anxiety and depression have upwards of two times greater risk of delaying medical care or not receiving needed non-coronavirus medical care amidst the pandemic.

“The results from our study are alarming given that delaying medical care can have significant adverse short- and long-term health outcomes, depending on the condition,” said Kyle T. Ganson, PhD, MSW, assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and lead author on the study. “We need to increase access to telehealth, and in the U.S., health insurance policies must be expanded to cover telehealth services that address non-emergency medical concerns.”

The study, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine,, found that in the four weeks prior to participating in the survey in June, 41% of the sample delayed medical care. In addition, nearly one third of the Americans surveyed did not receive necessary non-coronavirus medical care.

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Materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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