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What symptoms best predict severe distress in an online survey of UK health and social care staff facing COVID-19: development of the two-item Tipping Point Index

Brewin, CR; Bloomfield, MAP; Billings, J; Harju-Seppänen, J; Greene, T; (2021) What symptoms best predict severe distress in an online survey of UK health and social care staff facing COVID-19: development of the two-item Tipping Point Index. BMJ Open , 11 (8) , Article e047345. 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047345. Green open access

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Abstract

Objectives: COVID-19 has altered standard thresholds for identifying anxiety and depression. A brief questionnaire to determine when individuals are at a tipping point for severe anxiety or depression would greatly help decisions about when to seek assessment or treatment. Design: Data were collected as part of the Frontline-COVID Study, a cross-sectional national online survey with good coverage of health and social care settings. New questionnaire items reflecting when coping was actually breaking down were compared with standard measures of severe anxiety and depression. Data were collected between 27 May and 23 July 2020. Setting: The majority of participants worked in hospitals (53%), in nursing or care homes (15%), or in other community settings (30%). Participants: Of 1194 qualifying respondents, 1038 completed the six tipping point items. Respondents included nurses, midwives, doctors, care workers, healthcare assistants, allied healthcare professionals and other non-medical staff. Over 90% were white and female. Main outcome measures: Threshold for severe anxiety according to the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale-7 or moderately severe depression according to the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. Results: Answering yes to one of two simple questions (‘Over the last week have you been often feeling panicky or on the point of losing control of your emotions?’, ‘Over the last week have you felt complete hopelessness about the future?’) demonstrated very high sensitivity (0.95, 95% CI 0.92 to 0.97) and negative predictive value (0.97, 95% CI 0.95 to 0.98). Answering yes to both questions yielded high specificity (0.90, 95% CI 0.87 to 0.92) and positive predictive value (0.72, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.77). Results were replicated in two random subsamples and were consistent across different genders, ethnic backgrounds, and health or social care settings. Conclusions: Answering two simple yes/no questions can provide simple and immediate guidance to assist with decisions about whether to seek further assessment or treatment. Data availability statement: Anonymised data that support the findings of this study are available from TG upon reasonable request. The data have not been made publicly available due to their personal and sensitive nature.

Type: Article
Title: What symptoms best predict severe distress in an online survey of UK health and social care staff facing COVID-19: development of the two-item Tipping Point Index
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047345
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047345
Language: English
Additional information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133944
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