July 29, 2021

Psychological consequences of COVID-19 in HCWs, effect of health-promoting resources

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This German study finds that social support and especially a higher sense of coherence were beneficial for the mental health of healthcare workers (HCWs) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 4,324 HCWs from four professions (physicians, nurses, medical technical assistants, and pastoral workers) completed a survey on the effects of health-promoting resources on anxiety and depression symptoms experienced during the pandemic.


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Multiple regression analysis found that a higher sense of coherence (the extent to which people perceive their lives as understandable, meaningful, and manageable) was strongly associated with fewer anxiety and depression symptoms. Higher social support also was related to less severe mental symptoms, but with a smaller effect. Religiosity had minimal to no correlation with anxiety or depression. However, the pastoral workers, who also had an increase in stress, displayed the most pronounced sense of coherence and the fewest symptoms of anxiety and depression. The medical technical assistants suffered greatest from mental consequences of the pandemic.

The findings identify the potential health-promoting effects of sense of coherence and social support for HCWs on the front lines and also the helpers in the background, the researchers say.  

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