Health care workers exposed to COVID-19 experience adverse mental health outcomes

  • Lai J & al.
  • JAMA Netw Open
  • 2 Mar 2020

  • curated by Miriam Davis, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Takeaway

  • 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.

Study design

  • 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.

Key results

  • 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>

Limitations

  • Cross-sectional, observational design.