Psychiatric symptomatology associated with depression, anxiety, distress, and insomnia in health professionals working in patients affected by COVID-19: A systematic review with meta-analysis

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Jan 10;104:110057. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.110057. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Abstract

Background: Health professionals are key personnel to containing infectious diseases like COVID-19. In the face of long work shifts (that reach 16 h per day on average), the risk of getting infected by a high-infectious disease and the lack of enough biological protection measures, mental suffering among health professionals suddenly became evident.

Method: We carried out an updated meta-analysis to investigate the psychiatric impacts on health professionals in the face of the physical and psychological conditions to which they are subjected due to the high demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Papers were researched in four databases from December 2019 to April 2020. In total, eight papers were included in the study.

Results: Health professionals working to fight COVID-19 are being more severely affected by psychiatric disorders associated with depression, anxiety, distress and insomnia, stress, and indirect traumatization than other occupational groups. No significant differences were observed in the publication bias.

Conclusion: There is a strong association between health professionals and COVID-19 in terms of psychiatric repercussions. Our meta-analysis showed that health professionals have a higher level of indirect traumatization, in which the level of damage exceeds psychological and emotional tolerance and indirectly results in psychological abnormalities. The incidence of obsessive-compulsive traces and somatizations was higher in situations involving front-line professionals.

Keywords: COVID-19; Health professionals; Mental health; Psychiatric repercussions.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral*
  • Psychological Distress
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology