February 24, 2022

HCWs’ fear of COVID-19 and reluctance to work

Editor's Note

This study by Belgium researchers finds that healthcare workers’ (HCWs') fear of COVID-19 and reluctance to work significantly increased between the first phase of the study in May 2020 and the second phase in October 2020.

Of 2,661 HCWs analyzed in phase 1 and 2,336 HCWs in phase 2:

  • The prevalence of severe COVID-19 fear in HCWs increased from 9% to 15%.
  • HCWs showing a reluctance to work rose from 9% to 14%.
  • HCW seroprevalence (those testing positive) was similar in both phases at 7.4% and 7.9%, respectively.

Multivariate analysis found an association between reluctance to work, study phase, female gender, shortage of PPE, and poor education on COVID-19. In addition, COVID-19 fear was related to study phase, older age, female gender, being second-line rather than front-line HCWs, exposure to COVID-19 during work hours, and insufficient education on COVID-19.

This is the first large study to prospectively combine the assessment of seroprevalence and psychological impairments (ie, fear of COVID-19 and reluctance to work) in HCWs, the researchers say.


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