A meta-analysis of systematic reviews and meta-analyses to evaluate the psychological consequences of COVID-19

Several meta-analysis studies have been reported in the literature on the incidence of psychopathological conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This investigation aims to compile and analyze the findings of previously published meta-analysis research, as shown by the present meta-analysis of previous meta-analysis studies.

The PubMed and Scopus databases were searched from 1 January 2019 to 30 May 2022. The procedure was carried out according to the PRISMA flow chart and the qualities of the identified studies were analyzed using AMSTAR 2. Heterogeneities and risk of bias were assessed using the Meta-MUMS tool. The corresponding results, forest and funnel plots of the psychological consequences of COVID-19 were synthesized.

Eleven meta-analysis studies were included. Random-effects meta-analysis of anxiety and depression showed (ER = 0.318 p-value < 0.001, ER = 0.295 p-value < 0.001) high heterogeneities (I2 = 99.70%, I2 = 99.75) between studies. Random-effects meta-analyses of sleep difficulties and insomnia were shown (ER = 0.347 p-value < 0.001, ER = 0.265, p-value < 0.001) along with heterogeneities (I2 = 99.89, I2 = 99.64). According to the random meta-analysis of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (ER = 0.246, p-value = 0.001, ER = 0.223 p-value < 0.001) with heterogeneities (I2 = 99.75, I2 = 99.17). Random-effects meta-analyses of somatic and fear symptoms have been shown (ER = 0.16 p-value < 0.001, ER = 0.41, p-value = 0.089) with high heterogeneities (I2 = 99.62, I2 = 98.63). Random-effects meta-analysis of obsessive–compulsive symptoms and distress (ER = 0.297 p-value = 0.103; ER = 0.428, p-value = 0.013) with high heterogeneity, as I2 = 99.38%. Subgroup analysis of all symptoms and Egger's tests for detecting publication bias were also assessed.

The data from the current meta-analysis showed different psychological disorders of COVID-19 during the pandemic. Clinicians should be aware of the prevalence with which COVID-19-infected patients experience emotional distress, anxiety, fatigue, and PTSD. About half of the included systematic reviews (SRs)/meta-analyses (MAs) suffered from poorer methodological quality and increased risk of bias, reducing confidence in the findings. There must be more SRs/MAs and high-quality clinical trials conducted to confirm these findings.

Massoud Sokouti, Ali Reza Shafiee‑Kandjani, Mohsen Sokouti and Babak Sokouti | 2023
In: BMC Psychology ; ISSN: 2050-7283 | 11 | 279 | September
Anxiety Disorders, Comorbidity, COVID-19 (en), Depressive Disorders, Fear, Insomnia, Meta Analysis, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Psychological distress, Sleep Behavior, Somatic Symptoms, Systematic Review