Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation during the Shanghai 2022 Lockdown: A cross-sectional study

Brian J. Hall, Gen Li, Wen Chen, Donna Shelley, Weiming Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Common mental disorders and suicidal ideation are associated with exposures to COVID-19 pandemic stressors, including lockdown. Limited data is available on the effect of city-wide lockdowns on population mental health. In April 2022, Shanghai entered a city-wide lockdown that sealed 24 million residents in their homes or residential compounds. The rapid initiation of the lockdown disrupted food systems, spurred economic losses, and widespread fear. The associated mental health effects of a lockdown of this magnitude are largely unknown. The purpose of this study is to estimate the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation during this unprecedented lockdown. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, data were obtained via purposive sampling across 16 districts in Shanghai. Online surveys were distributed between April 29 and June 1, 2022. All participants were physically present and residents of Shanghai during the lockdown. Logistic regression was used to estimate the associations between lockdown-related stressors and study outcomes, adjusting for covariates. Findings: A total of 3230 Shanghai residents who personally experienced the lockdown participated the survey, with 1657 (55.5 %) men, 1563 (44.3 %) women, and 10 (0.02 %) other, and a median age of 32 (IQR 26–39), who were predominately 3242 (96.9 %) Han Chinese. The overall prevalence of depression based on PHQ-9 was 26.1 % (95 % CI, 24.8 %–27.4 %), 20.1 % (18.3 %–22.0 %) for anxiety based on GAD-7, and 3.8 % (2.9 %–4.8 %) for suicidal ideation based on ASQ. The prevalence of all outcomes was higher among younger adults, single people, lower income earners, migrants, those in poor health, and with a previous psychiatric diagnosis or suicide attempt. The odds of depression and anxiety were associated with job loss, income loss, and lockdown-related fear. Higher odds of anxiety and suicidal ideation were associated with being in close contact with a COVID-19 case. Moderate food insecurity was reported by 1731 (51.8 %), and 498 (14.6 %) reported severe food insecurity. Moderate food insecurity was associated with a >3-fold increase in the odds of screening for depression and anxiety and reporting suicidal ideation (aOR from 3.15 to 3.84); severe food insecurity was associated with >5-fold increased odds for depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation (aOR from 5.21 to 10.87), compared to being food secure. Interpretation: Lockdown stressors, including food insecurity, job and income loss, and lockdown-related fears, were associated with increased odds of mental health outcomes. COVID-19 elimination strategies including lockdowns should be balanced against the effects on population wellbeing. Strategies to avoid unneeded lockdown, and policies that can strengthen food systems and protect against economic shocks are needed. Funding: Funding was provided by the NYU Shanghai Center for Global Health Equity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Lockdown
  • Mental health
  • Shanghai

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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