Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress during the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian war, a comparison between populations in Poland, Ukraine, and Taiwan.Sci Rep. 2023 03 03; 13(1):3602.SR
Ukraine has been embroiled in an increasing war since February 2022. In addition to Ukrainians, the Russo-Ukraine war has affected Poles due to the refugee crisis and the Taiwanese, who are facing a potential crisis with China. We examined the mental health status and associated factors in Ukraine, Poland, and Taiwan. The data will be used for future reference as the war is still ongoing. From March 8 to April 26, 2022, we conducted an online survey using snowball sampling techniques in Ukraine, Poland, and Taiwan. Depression, anxiety, and stress were measured using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress (DASS)-21 item scale; post-traumatic stress symptoms by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and coping strategies by the Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced Inventory (Brief-COPE). We used multivariate linear regression to identify factors significantly associated with DASS-21 and IES-R scores. There were 1626 participants (Poland: 1053; Ukraine: 385; Taiwan: 188) in this study. Ukrainian participants reported significantly higher DASS-21 (p < 0.001) and IES-R (p < 0.01) scores than Poles and Taiwanese. Although Taiwanese participants were not directly involved in the war, their mean IES-R scores (40.37 ± 16.86) were only slightly lower than Ukrainian participants (41.36 ± 14.94). Taiwanese reported significantly higher avoidance scores (1.60 ± 0.47) than the Polish (0.87 ± 0.53) and Ukrainian (0.91 ± 0.5) participants (p < 0.001). More than half of the Taiwanese (54.3%) and Polish (80.3%) participants were distressed by the war scenes in the media. More than half (52.5%) of the Ukrainian participants would not seek psychological help despite a significantly higher prevalence of psychological distress. Multivariate linear regression analyses found that female gender, Ukrainian and Polish citizenship, household size, self-rating health status, past psychiatric history, and avoidance coping were significantly associated with higher DASS-21 and IES-R scores after adjustment of other variables (p < 0.05). We have identified mental health sequelae in Ukrainian, Poles, and Taiwanese with the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war. Risk factors associated with developing depression, anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress symptoms include female gender, self-rating health status, past psychiatric history, and avoidance coping. Early resolution of the conflict, online mental health interventions, delivery of psychotropic medications, and distraction techniques may help to improve the mental health of people who stay inside and outside Ukraine.