- Frontline health care workers exposed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are more likely than second-line health care workers to experience depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress.
- Nurses, women, frontline workers, and those working in Wuhan, China, were at greatest risk.
Why this matters
- This is the first published survey of mental strain on COVID-19-exposed health care workers.
- Cross-sectional survey of 1257 health care workers treating COVID-19 patients in China.
- Mental symptoms were assessed using Chinese versions of the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire, 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale, 7-item Insomnia Severity Index, and 22-item Impact of Event Scale-Revised.
- Funding: National Key Research and Development Program of China.
- 60.8% of respondents were nurses, 39.2% were physicians, 60.5% worked in Wuhan hospitals, and 41.5% were frontline health care workers (respondents could be more than 1 category).
- Factors associated with worse mental health symptoms were being a nurse, a woman, or a frontline health care worker, and working in Wuhan.
- Working outside Hubei province vs in Wuhan was associated with lower distress symptoms: OR, 0.62 (P=.008).
- Frontline vs second-line health care workers had higher odds of depression (OR, 1.52; P=.01), anxiety (OR, 1.57; P<.001 insomnia p and distress>
- Cross-sectional, observational design.