Immediate psychological outcomes associated with COVID-19 pandemic in frontline physicians: a cross-sectional study in Egypt

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Abstract

Background: The mental health of frontline healthcare workers is influenced by the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. This adversely affects their clinical performance and productivity. Therefore, it is important to recognize levels of anxiety, depression and identify the contributing factors. Methods: A cross-sectional study recruited physicians working at frontline positions in university teaching and isolation hospitals in the Mid Delta Region of Egypt from April to May 2020. Data was collected through an electronic online survey. Anxiety and depression levels were assessed using General Anxiety Disorder-7 and Patient Health Questionnaire − 9 respectively. Results: The study included 237 physicians, their mean age was 38.2 ± 6.2 years and 58% of them were males. Overall, 78.9% and 43.8% of all participated physicians reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. 85% of respondents had children with a significant increase in the risk of anxiety (OR = 20.2). This study revealed that poor sleep quality, being a resident physician, disrupted social life, and stigma exposure due to COVID-19, were significant mediating factors for the observed anxiety (OR = 0.53,3.28,0.18,1.56 respectively) and depressive symptoms (OR = 0.51,1.39,0.56,1.9 respectively). However, working in isolation hospitals wasn’t a significant contributing factor. Conclusion: The frontline physicians experienced a high rate of mental symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. That requires prompt intervention, taking into consideration the underlying determinants.

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Abu-Elenin, M. M. (2021). Immediate psychological outcomes associated with COVID-19 pandemic in frontline physicians: a cross-sectional study in Egypt. BMC Psychiatry, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-021-03225-y

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