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Workplace factors associated with mental health of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: an international cross-sectional study

Authors
  • Khajuria, Ankur1, 2, 3
  • Tomaszewski, Wojtek4
  • Liu, Zhongchun5
  • Chen, Jian-hua6
  • Mehdian, Roshana2
  • Fleming, Simon2, 7
  • Vig, Stella2
  • Crawford, Mike J.3
  • 1 University of Oxford, Oxford, UK , Oxford (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Royal College of Surgeons of England, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Imperial College London, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
  • 4 Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia , Brisbane (Australia)
  • 5 Wuhan University, Wuhan, China , Wuhan (China)
  • 6 Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China , Shanghai (China)
  • 7 Queen Mary University of London, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
BMC Health Services Research
Publisher
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Mar 21, 2021
Volume
21
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s12913-021-06279-6
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundThe association of workplace factors on mental health of healthcare workers (HCWs) during the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be urgently established. This will enable governments and policy-makers to make evidence-based decisions. This international study reports the association between workplace factors and the mental health of HCWs during the pandemic.MethodsAn international, cross-sectional study was conducted in 41 countries. The primary outcome was depressive symptoms, derived from the validated Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2). Multivariable logistic regression identified factors associated with mental health outcomes. Inter-country differences were also evaluated.ResultsA total of 2527 responses were received, from 41 countries, including China (n = 1213; 48.0%), UK (n = 891; 35.3%), and USA (n = 252; 10.0%). Of all participants, 1343 (57.1%) were aged 26 to 40 years, and 2021 (80.0%) were female; 874 (34.6%) were doctors, and 1367 (54.1%) were nurses. Factors associated with an increased likelihood of depressive symptoms were: working in the UK (OR = 3.63; CI = [2.90–4.54]; p < 0.001) and USA (OR = 4.10; CI = [3.03–5.54]), p < 0.001); being female (OR = 1.74; CI = [1.42–2.13]; p < 0.001); being a nurse (OR = 1.64; CI = [1.34–2.01]; p < 0.001); and caring for a COVID-19 positive patient who subsequently died (OR = 1.20; CI = [1.01–1.43]; p = 0.040). Workplace factors associated with depressive symptoms were: redeployment to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) (OR = 1.67; CI = [1.14–2.46]; p = 0.009); redeployment with perceived unsatisfactory training (OR = 1.67; CI = [1.32–2.11]; p < 0.001); not being issued with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (OR = 2.49; CI = [2.03–3.04]; p < 0.001); perceived poor workplace support within area/specialty (OR = 2.49; CI = [2.03–3.04]; p < 0.001); and perceived poor mental health support (OR = 1.63; CI = [1.38–1.92]; p < 0.001).ConclusionThis is the first international study, demonstrating that workplace factors, including PPE availability, staff training pre-redeployment, and provision of mental health support, are significantly associated with mental health during COVID-19. Governments, policy-makers and other stakeholders need to ensure provision of these to safeguard HCWs’ mental health, for future waves and other pandemics.

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