Can COVID-19 related mental health issues be measured?

Ramdas Ransing, Rodrigo Ramalho, Laura Orsolini, Frances Adiukwu, Jairo M. Gonzalez-Diaz, Amine Larnaout, Mariana Pinto da Costa, Paolo Grandinetti, Drita Gashi Bytyçi, Mohammadreza Shalbafan, Ishwar Patil, Marwa Nofal, Victor Pereira-Sanchez, Ozge Kilic

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation efforts carry a mental health toll among health care workers, individuals infected and the general population (Li et al., 2020, Ransing et al., 2020). There is a lack of specific robust screening tools or diagnostic instruments that could promptly identify relevant symptoms and contribute to the attempts to study the epidemiology of COVID-19 related mental health problems. In fact, the use of traditional assessment tools (e.g. PHQ-9, GAD-7) may lead to under-diagnosis or over-diagnosis of the cases emerging in this current pandemic due to their poor psychometric properties (e.g. face validity). There are new scales tailored to identify COVID-19 related mental health issues (Lee, 2020a, Taylor et al., 2020), however, their clinical utility, methodological strengths and limitations have not yet been explored in the literature. In this article we provide a brief overview of these new assessment tools, with a focus on their multi-language availability.

Our search (till May 15, 2020) in PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases yielded five published new scales (Table 1 ) (Ahorsu et al., 2020, Lee, 2020a, Lee, 2020b, Taylor et al., 2020): Coronavirus Anxiety Scale (CAS) (Lee, 2020b), the Obsession with COVID-19 Scale (OCS) (Lee, 2020a), the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) (Ahorsu et al., 2020), the COVID Stress Scales (CSS) (Taylor et al., 2020), and the Questionnaire on Perception of Threat from COVID-19 (Pérez-Fuentes et al., 2020). Almost all of them were developed as self-report and Likert-type scales and validated using online surveys. To our surprise, there was no available clinician-administered scale to measure psychological distress or disorders in the context of COVID-19 infection.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-34
Number of pages3
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - May 26 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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