PTSD symptoms in healthcare workers facing the three coronavirus outbreaks: What can we expect after the COVID-19 pandemic

Psychiatry Res. 2020 Oct:292:113312. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113312. Epub 2020 Jul 20.


The COronaVIrus Disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the critical need to focus on its impact on the mental health of Healthcare Workers (HCWs) involved in the response to this emergency. It has been consistently shown that a high proportion of HCWs is at greater risk for developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSS). The present study systematic reviewed studies conducted in the context of the three major Coronavirus outbreaks of the last two decades to investigate risk and resilience factors for PTSD and PTSS in HCWs. Nineteen studies on the SARS 2003 outbreak, two on the MERS 2012 outbreak and three on the COVID-19 ongoing outbreak were included. Some variables were found to be of particular relevance as risk factors as well as resilience factors, including exposure level, working role, years of work experience, social and work support, job organization, quarantine, age, gender, marital status, and coping styles. It will be critical to account for these factors when planning effective intervention strategies, to enhance the resilience and reduce the risk of adverse mental health outcomes among HCWs facing the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: Corona; Mental health; Nurses; Physicians; Psychological distress; Stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Coronavirus*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology