A Systematic, Thematic Review of Social and Occupational Factors Associated With Psychological Outcomes in Healthcare Employees During an Infectious Disease Outbreak

J Occup Environ Med. 2018 Mar;60(3):248-257. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001235.


Objective: To conduct a systematic literature review to identify social and occupational factors affecting the psychological wellbeing of healthcare workers involved in the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis.

Methods: Four literature databases were searched and data extracted from relevant papers.

Results: Eighteen thousand five papers were found and 22 included in the review. The psychological impact of SARS on employees appeared to be associated with occupational role; training/preparedness; high-risk work environments; quarantine; role-related stressors; perceived risk; social support; social rejection/isolation; and impact of SARS on personal or professional life.

Conclusions: To minimize the psychological impact of future outbreaks of infectious diseases, healthcare workers should be prepared for the potential psychological impact; employers should encourage a supportive environment in the workplace and ensure that support is in place for those most at risk, for example, those with the most patient contact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Occupational Health
  • Professional Role / psychology
  • Psychological Distance
  • Quarantine / psychology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / psychology*
  • Social Isolation
  • Social Support
  • Workplace / psychology*