Prevalence and Associated Factors of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Stigma among Health Care Workers in Contact with COVID-19 Patients
Objective: The global spread of COVID-19 has caused great psychological stress in health care workers (HCWs). This study aims to assess the prevalence and associated factors of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and stigma among health care workers (HCWs) who are involved in treating COVID-19 patients. This study was conducted as part of studies related to assessing the mental health status of HCWs in Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Method: Overall, in this cross sectional study, 894 HCWs working in 9 general hospitals in Alborz province, Iran, in the field of diagnostic and treatment care of patients with COVID-19 were selected using multistage sampling method. PTSS and its subscales, including intrusion, avoidance, and hyper vigilance were obtained based on the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-8 Item validated questionnaire. Information on Stigma's perception among HCWs was also obtained based on a questionnaire adopted from the HIV Stigma Scale. Predictors of PTSS and Stigma's perception among HCWs were assessed using multivariate logistic regression analysis.
Results: Overall, 71.4% of the participants were women and 46.9% were front line staff. The prevalence of intrusion, avoidance, and hyper vigilance symptoms was 44.2% (95% CI: 40.8-47.6), 31. 8% (95% CI: 28.8-35.0), and 37.7% (95% CI: 34.5-41.0), respectively. A strong and positive significant correlation was found between stigma score with PTSD total score (coefficient: 0.83) and its components. In multivariate logistic regression model, female gender was associated with intrusion (OR: 1.46, 95% CI: 1.03-2.06) and avoidance (OR: 1.66, 95% CI: 1.147-2.417) and working in frontline increased the odds of intrusion (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.06-1.97) and hyper vigilance (OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.03-1.91).
Conclusion: The prevalence of PTSS is high among HCWs during COVID-19 pandemic and it is associated with some demographic characteristics of HCWs. This situation should be considered by health policymakers so that while trying to control the disease, the mental health status of this group of personnel should be given much attention.
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