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

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

  • de Miriam Davis, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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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.