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Short-term impact of COVID-19 on quality of life, perceived stress, and serious psychological distress in an adult population in the midwest United States

Quality of Life Research
Leonard E. Egede, Rebekah J. Walker, Aprill Z. Dawson, Amy Zosel, Sanjay Bhandari, Sneha Nagavally, Ian Martin, Michael Frank
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-022-03081-7.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



This study aimed to investigate changes over time in quality of life, perceived stress, and serious psychological distress for individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 in an urban academic health system.


Phone-based surveys were completed with adult patients tested for COVID-19 during emergency department visits, hospitalizations, or outpatient visits at the Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network. Data were then matched to medical record data. Unadjusted and adjusted mixed effects linear models using random intercept were run for each outcome (physical health-related quality of life, mental health-related quality of life, perceived stress, and serious psychological distress) with time (baseline vs 3-month follow-up) as the primary independent variable. Individuals were treated as a random effect, with all covariates (age, sex, race/ethnicity, payor, comorbidity count, hospitalization, and intensive care unit (ICU) stay) treated as fixed effects.


264 adults tested positive for COVID-19 and completed baseline and 3-month follow-up assessments. Of that number, 31.8% were hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 10.2% were admitted for any reason to the ICU. After adjustment, patients reported higher physical health-related quality of life at 3 months compared to baseline (0.63, 95% CI 0.15, 1.11) and decreased stress at 3 months compared to baseline (− 0.85, 95% CI − 1.33, − 0.37). There were no associations between survey time and mental health-related quality of life or serious psychological distress.


Results suggest the influence of COVID-19 on physical health-related quality of life and stress may resolve over time, however, the influence of mental health on daily activities, work, and social activities may not.

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