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Depression and anxiety in healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors
  • Weibelzahl, S.1
  • Reiter, J.2
  • Duden, G.3, 4
  • 1 PFH Private University of Applied Sciences Göttingen, Germany , (Germany)
  • 2 University of Vienna, Austria , (Austria)
  • 3 University of Osnabrueck, Germany , (Germany)
  • 4 University of Leipzig, Germany , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Epidemiology and Infection
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
Feb 09, 2021
Volume
149
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1017/S0950268821000303
PMID: 33557984
PMCID: PMC7900665
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Healthcare staff have been at the centre of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, facing diverse work-related stressors. Building upon studies from various countries, we aimed to investigate (1) the prevalence of various work-related stressors among healthcare professionals in Germany specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) the psychological effects of these stressors in terms of clinical symptoms, and (3) the healthcare professionals' help-seeking behaviour. To this end, N = 300 healthcare professionals completed an online survey including the ICD-10 Symptom Rating checklist (ISR), event-sampling questions on pandemic-related stressors and self-formulated questions on help-seeking behaviour. Participants were recruited between 22 May and 22 July 2020. Findings were analysed using t tests, regressions and comparisons to large clinical and non-clinical samples assessed before and during the pandemic. Results show that healthcare professionals were most affected by protective measures at their workplace and changes in work procedures. Psychological symptoms, particularly anxiety and depression, were significantly more severe than in a non-clinical pre-pandemic sample and in the general population during the pandemic. At the same time, most professionals indicated that they would not seek help for psychological concerns. These findings indicate that healthcare employers need to pay greater attention to the mental health of their staff.

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