Depression, anxiety and stress on caregivers of persons with dementia (CGPWD) in Hong Kong amid COVID-19 pandemic

Tommy Kwan Hin Fong, Teris Cheung, Wai Chi Chan, Calvin Pak Wing Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) contributed to increasing prevalence of depressive symptoms and other psychological repercussions, particularly in the disease population in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, the caregiver burden of caregivers of persons with dementia (CGPWD), has been under-investigated. Aims: This study examined the psychological impact and its correlates on the CGPWD in Hong Kong amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Methods: CGPWD referred from rehabilitation clinics and online seminar were used to recruit participants to complete an online questionnaire by the end of the second-wave of the COVID-19 outbreak (June 2021). To be eligible, either full-time or part-time CGPWD, aged 18 or above, can understand Cantonese, currently reside in Hong Kong and offering care to PWD for at least one year, were recruited. Those CGPWD diagnosed with any type of psychiatric disorder were excluded from this study. The Chinese Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7), Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI-22), and Nonattachment Scale (NAS-7) were used to measure participants’ depression, perceived stress, anxiety symptoms, caregiver burden and wisdom in subjective feelings of internal stress. The modified Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (mMOS-SS) and the SARS Appraisal Inventory (SAI) were also administered to measure participants’ perceived support and coping efficacy. Follow-up responses were gathered by the end of third-wave outbreak (October 2021). Results: A total of 51 CGPWD participated, of which, 33 (64.7%) suffered from probable depression (CES-D score ≥ 16). Participants also showed a significant increase in depression symptom scores at the three-month follow-up period (t = 2.25, p = 0.03). CGPWD with probable depression had less non-attachment awareness and higher scores in anxiety, stress, caregiving burden, and coronavirus impact (all p < 0.05) than those without. Conclusions: High prevalence of depressive symptoms was noted among our CGPWD sample and these symptoms seemed to worsen substantially. Contingent online mental health support should be prioritized to those CGPWD to reduce psychiatric morbidity and the global disease burden.

Original languageEnglish
Article number184
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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