Medical personnel treating coronavirus cases in China have higher rates of anxiety and other mental health symptoms than the general population, according to a new study published recently in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
The healthcare providers surveyed scored higher on scales of somatisation (experiencing physical symptoms of psychiatric conditions), obsessive-compulsive symptoms, anxiety, phobic anxiety and psychoticism compared to a national average (p(0.05). They also scored lower on a scale of interpersonal sensitivity (p(0.01).
The researchers identified several factors that predicted mental health status (p(0.05), including whether a clinician had worked in Hubei province, their level of concern that they had been infected, and their age. However, the study is limited in that it did not directly compare doctors working with COVID-19 patients to doctors not working with COVID-19 patients.
The authors add: "The overall mental health status of medical personnel responding to new coronavirus pneumonia is generally higher than that of the norm group in China. The results of this study should contribute to measures to alleviate the psychological pressures on medical personnel dealing with the new coronavirus epidemic in China."