COVID-19 Infection and Psychotic Experiences: Findings From the Healthy Minds Study 2020

Hans Oh, Jason Schiffman, Jonathan Marsh, Sasha Zhou, Ai Koyanagi, Jordan DeVylder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Clinical reports from across the world have documented psychosis in the context of COVID-19 infection; however, there has yet to be a large-scale epidemiological study to confirm this association. Methods: We analyzed data from the Healthy Minds Study (N = 15,935; conducted between September and December 2020), which was administered online to students attending one of 28 colleges in the United States. Using multivariable logistic regression, we examined the associations between COVID-19 infection/severity and psychotic experiences over the past 12 months, adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and international student status as well as anxiety and depression. Results: More than one fifth of the analytic sample reported COVID-19 infection, and about one in six students with COVID-19 infection reported psychotic experiences over the past 12 months. In weighted multivariable logistic regression models, COVID-19 infection was associated with significantly greater odds of having psychotic experiences (adjusted odds ratio 1.36, 95% CI 1.19–1.48). Compared with being asymptomatic, having moderate (adjusted odds ratio 1.85, 95% CI 1.03–3.31) or severe (adjusted odds ratio 1.76, 95% CI 1.11–2.77) symptoms was associated with significantly greater odds of having psychotic experiences. These associations became statistically nonsignificant when adjusting for depression and anxiety. Hospitalization was not significantly associated with psychotic experiences among students with COVID-19 infection. Conclusions: Psychotic experiences are associated with COVID-19 infections, though much of the association is attenuated when accounting for anxiety and depression. Findings based on this sample of college students should be replicated outside of the college context to determine whether psychosis is a neuropsychiatric symptom during and after COVID-19 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry Global Open Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Psychosis
  • Psychotic experiences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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