BACKGROUND: The upsurge of COVID-19 has caused numerous psycho-social challenges for healthcare professionals because of its ability to spread rapidly in the community and high mortality rate . The seriousness of the disease has led many healthcare professionals plagued by stigma as well as discrimination . In this study, depressive symptomatology, levels of anxiety, and related psychosocial and occupational factors experienced by healthcare professionals in Sri Lanka during COVID -19 were investigated .
METHODS: A total of 512 healthcare professionals were surveyed using an online survey . The Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-Revised-10, and psychosocial and occupational factors predictive of depression and anxiety were included in the survey questionnaire . Logistic regression determined the factors associated with the presence of depressive symptoms and anxiety .
RESULTS: Results showed that elevated depressive symptoms and anxiety were experienced by 53.3% and 51.3%, respectively, of the participants . No differences in the prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms and anxiety were found between those who were exposed and non-exposed to COVID-19 confirmed or suspected patients . Having a fear of being infected with COVID-19 and spreading it among family members were associated with increased risk of depression . Among those exposed to COVID-19 confirmed or suspected patients, poor occupational safety (OR = 2.06 , 95% CI 1.25-3.39), stigmatization (OR = 2.19 , 95% CI 1.29-3.72), and heavy workload (OR = 2.45 , 95% CI 1.53-3.92) were associated with increased risk of elevated depressive symptoms, whilst poor self-confidence (OR = 2.53 , 95% CI 1.56-4.09) and heavy workload (OR = 1.94 . 95% CI 1.22-3.12) were associated with increased risk of anxiety .
CONCLUSIONS: Fear of being infected and distress caused by fear of spreading it among family members, stigmatization, poor self-confidence, poor occupational safety and heavy workload are vital risk factors that need to be considered in future psychological support services designed for the healthcare professionals in unprecedented outbreaks like COVID-19.
MeSH: Anxiety, epidemiology, COVID-19, Cross-Sectional Studies, Delivery of Health Care, Depression, epidemiology, Humans, SARS-CoV-2, Sri Lanka, epidemiology
Index: COVID-19, Healthcare professionals, Psychological health, Self-confidence, Sri Lanka, Stigmatization