The Impact of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Fear and the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health of Patients with Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders and Severe Asthma, and Other High-Risk Groups

Fatih Çölkesen
Oğuzhan Kılınçel
Mehmet Sözen
Eray Yıldız
Şengül Beyaz
Fatma Çölkesen
Gökhan Aytekin
Mehmet Zahid Koçak
Yakup Alsancak
Murat Araz
Şevket Arslan


Objective: The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the long term is unclear. We evaluated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)–related transmission fear and mental-health disorders in populations at high risk for COVID-19.

Materials and Methods: Healthcare workers and patients with primary immunodeficiency disorders (PIDs), severe asthma, malignancy, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus were included in the study. The hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) and Fear of Illness and Virus Evaluation (FIVE) scales were applied during face-to-face interviews.

Results: There was a total of 560 participants, 80 per group; 306 (55%) were female. The FIVE and HADS-A scale scores of health care workers were significantly higher than the other groups (p = 0.001 and 0.006). The second-highest scores were in patients with PID. There was no significant difference between the groups in HADS-D scores (p = 0.07). There was a significant positive correlation between FIVE scale scores and anxiety (r = 0.828; p < 0.001) and depression (r = 0.660; p < 0.001). The FIVE scale had significant discriminatory power for anxiety (AUC = 0.870, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.836–0.904; p < 0.0001) and depression (area under the curve = 0.760, 95% CI = 0.717–0.803; p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, mental-health disorders may develop in patients with comorbidities, especially healthcare workers. They should be referred to mental-health centers.


Asthma, COVID-19, fear of virus transmission, mental health, primary immunodeficiency
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