Trends of Prevalence Estimates and Risk Factors of Depressive Symptoms among Healthcare Workers Over one Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Ahmed Yassin1, *, Abdel-Hameed Al-Mistarehi2, Ola Soudah3, Reema Karasneh3, Sayer Al-Azzam4, Aref A. Qarqash5, Aws G. Khasawneh6, Kefah A. Alhayk1, Majdi Al Qawasmeh1, Raid M. Kofahi1, Salma Y. Bashayreh1, Khalid El-Salem1
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2022
E-location ID: e174501792206160
Publisher ID: e174501792206160
Article History:Received Date: 3/3/2022
Revision Received Date: 21/4/2022
Acceptance Date: 27/4/2022
Electronic publication date: 30/06/2022
Collection year: 2022
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
COVID-19 pandemic has an overwhelming psychologic burden on healthcare workers (HCWs). This study aims to investigate the changes in the prevalence, estimates, severity, and risk factors of depressive symptoms among HCWs within the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An observational e-survey collected data on HCWs’ socio-demographic characteristics, occupational situation, and depressive symptoms as measured by Patient Health Questionnaire–9 (PHQ-9). The e-survey was distributed one month after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (onset group) and again after one year (one-year group).
A total of 422 HCWs were included (Mean (SD) age, 35.3 (9.9) years; 71.3% males), with 211 (50%) participants in each group. In the total cohort, the mean PHQ-9 score was 8.5, and 36.7% reported clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms with a PHQ-9 score of ≥10. Compared to the onset group, the one-year group reported a higher risk of major depressive disorder (41.7% vs. 31.8%; OR 1.538; 95%CI 1.032–2.291; p=0.034), a higher mean PHQ-9 score (9.5 (6.8) vs. 7.4 (5.3), p<0.001), and more severe depressive symptoms (p<0.005). Participants who were younger, unmarried, underwent testing for COVID-19, reported lower monthly income, did not receive special COVID-19 education, or had lower satisfaction with institutional preparedness had significantly higher depression scores and symptoms in both onset and one-year groups (p<0.05 for each category). Female gender and direct contact with COVID-19 patients or samples were significant risk factors within the onset group. Occupation as a physician, history of COVID-19 testing or infection, and perception of significant changes in work schedule or intensity were significantly associated with higher depression scores and symptoms among the one-year group.
This study sheds light on an unspoken but significant rise in prevalence estimates and severity of depressive symptoms among HCWs over a year of the COVID-19 pandemic and shows the vulnerable subgroups for whom a psychological intervention might be warranted.