Comparison of hospital worker anxiety in COVID-19 treating and non-treating hospitals in the same city during the COVID-19 pandemic

Isr J Health Policy Res. 2020 Oct 21;9(1):55. doi: 10.1186/s13584-020-00413-1.


Background: The Hadassah Medical Organization operates two hospitals in Jerusalem. During the COVID-19 pandemic it made an administrative decision to operate one hospital as a COVID-19 treatment hospital (CTH) and to have the second function as a non-COVID-19 treating hospital (NCTH) offering general medical services. The purpose of this study was to assess how this decision affected hospital worker anxiety.

Methods: From April 27 to May 1, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel, while the country was under lock-down, an electronic questionnaire survey was carried out among hospital workers of the CTH and NCTH. The questionnaire includes personal demographics and attitudes about COVID-19 and assesses present anxiety state using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAI-S) validated questionnaire. A STAI-S score of ≥45 was considered to represent clinical anxiety.

Results: Completed questionnaires were received from 1570 hospital employees (24%). 33.5% of responders had STAI-S scores ≥45. Multivariable regression analysis showed that being a resident doctor (odds ration [OR] 2.13; 95% CL, 1.41-3.23; P = 0.0003), age ≤ 50 (OR, 2.08; 95% Cl, 1.62-2.67; P < .0001), being a nurse (OR, 1.29; 95% CL, 1.01-1.64; P = 0.039), female gender (OR, 1.63; 95% CL, 1.25-2.13; P = 0.0003) and having risk factors for COVID-19 (OR, 1.51; 95% CL, 1.19-1.91; P = 0.0007), but not hospital workplace (p = 0.08), were associated with the presence of clinical anxiety. 69% of the responders had been tested for COVID-19, but only nine were positive. CTH workers estimated that the likelihood of their already being infected with COVID-19 to be 21.5 ± 24.7% as compared to the 15.3 ± 19.5% estimate of NCTH workers (p = 0.0001). 50% (545/1099) of the CTH workers and 51% (168/330) of the NCTH workers responded that the most important cause of their stress was a fear of infecting their families (p = 0.7).

Conclusions: By multivariable analysis the creation of a NCTH during the COVID-19 pandemic was not found to be associated with a decrease in the number of hospital workers with clinical anxiety. Hospital worker support resources can be focused on the at-risk groups identified in this study.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19 pandemic; Hospital workers; Lock-down; Questionnaire; Risk factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19
  • Cities / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology*
  • Personnel, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy*
  • Public Policy
  • Quarantine
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires