Social support and mental health among health care workers during Coronavirus Disease 2019 outbreak: A moderated mediation model

PLoS One. 2020 May 29;15(5):e0233831. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0233831. eCollection 2020.


Purposes: During the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) all over the world, the mental health conditions of health care workers are of great importance to ensure the efficiency of rescue operations. The current study examined the effect of social support on mental health of health care workers and its underlying mechanisms regarding the mediating role of resilience and moderating role of age during the epidemic.

Methods: Social Support Rating Scale (SSRS), Connor-Davidson Resilience scale (CD-RISC) and Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90) were administrated among 1472 health care workers from Jiangsu Province, China during the peak period of COVID-19 outbreak. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine the mediation effect of resilience on the relation between social support and mental health, whereas moderated mediation analysis was performed by Hayes PROCESS macro.

Results: The findings showed that resilience could partially mediate the effect of social support on mental health among health care workers. Age group moderated the indirect relationship between social support and mental health via resilience. Specifically, compared with younger health care workers, the association between resilience and mental health would be attenuated in the middle-aged workers.

Conclusions: The results add knowledge to previous literature by uncovering the underlying mechanisms between social support and mental health. The present study has profound implications for mental health services for health care workers during the peak period of COVID-19.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Disaster Medicine
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Social Support

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.