Psychological effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on healthcare workers globally: A systematic review

Psychiatry Res. 2020 Oct;292:113360. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113360. Epub 2020 Aug 3.


In this systematic review, we compared the incidences of psychological issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as anxiety, depression, occupational stress, PTSD and insomnia, in healthcare workers (HCW) and non-healthcare workers (NHCW). PubMed, Ovid, Google Scholar and PsycInfo were systematically searched for related published articles. In all electronic databases, the following search strategy was implemented, and these key words were used: "COVID 19″ OR "SARS-CoV-2″ AND "psychological" OR "stress" OR "depression" AND "healthcare$". We identified 6 studies, out of the final 15 selected, which reported numerical estimates for incidences of psychological effects. Meta-analysis was conducted, comparing both combined and individual effect sizes of all psychological manifestations. Qualitative evidence was reported from the remaining 9 cross- sectional studies. The summary effects of the combined quantitative meta-analysis conducted on 6 studies did indicate near significant differences between HCW and NHCW. Summary effects of individual manifestations indicated significantly higher incidence of insomnia among HCW, when compared to NHCW. Qualitative evidence from remaining cross-sectional studies provided additional information into the nature of the psychological issues. We conclude that even though reasons for psychological distress among HCW and NHCW may be different, both suffered in equal measures excepting for insomnia.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Healthcare workers; Psychological outcomes; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Global Burden of Disease
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Stress / epidemiology
  • Occupational Stress / psychology*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology