Preventive Behaviors and Mental Health-Related Symptoms among Immunocompromised Adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Analysis of the COVID Impact Survey

Jessica Yasmine Islam, Denise Christina Vidot, Amoghvarsha Havanur, Marlene Camacho-Rivera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the continuity of care of U.S. adults living with chronic diseases, including immunocompromised adults. Disruption in care may be a barrier to identifying COVID-19 associated sequelae, such as mental health symptoms, among the immunocompromised. Our objectives were to evaluate COVID-19-related preventive behaviors, with a focus on canceling doctor's appointments as a proxy for continuity of care, and to compare COVID-19-related mental health symptoms among the immunocompromised with the general population. We used nationally-representative data of 10,760 U.S. adults from the publicly-available COVID-19 Household Impact Survey. We defined immunocompromised as adults with a self-reported diagnosis of "a compromised immune system"(n = 854, 7.6%). We adherence to self-reported COVID-19 preventive behaviors among immunocompromised adults to others using χ2-tests. We focused on continuity of care and estimated determinants of canceling doctor's appointments among the immunocompromised using multivariable Poisson regression to estimate adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). We evaluated associations of mental health symptoms with being immunocompromised using multinomial logistic regression and estimated conditional odds ratios (cOR) with 95% CIs. Immunocompromised adults were more likely to adhere to recommended COVID-19 preventive behaviors, including washing or sanitizing hands (96.3% vs. 89.8%, χ2 <0.001), maintaining social distance (91.9% vs. 83.7%, χ2 <0.001), and canceling a doctor's appointment (47.1% vs. 29.7%, χ2 <0.001). Hispanic immunocompromised adults (aPR: 1.47, 95% CI: 1.12-1.92) and immunocompromised women (aPR: 1.25, 95% CI: 1.00-1.56) were more likely to cancel doctor's appointments compared to non-Hispanic White immunocompromised adults and men, respectively. Immunocompromised adults reported higher odds of feeling nervous/anxious/on edge (cOR: 1.89, 95% CI: 1.44-2.51), depressed (cOR: 2.81, 95% CI: 2.17-3.64), lonely (cOR: 2.28, 95% CI: 1.74-2.98), and hopeless (cOR: 2.86, 95% CI: 2.21-3.69) 3-7 days in the last week. Immunocompromised adults were more likely to cancel their doctor's appointments and report COVID19-related mental health symptoms. The continuity of care of immunocompromised adults should be prioritized through alternative interventions, such as telehealth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number302
Pages (from-to)304-313
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS research and human retroviruses
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • COVID-19
  • immunocompromised
  • mental health symptoms
  • preventive behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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