Psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Western frontline healthcare professionals. A systematic review

Med Clin (Barc). 2021 May 7;156(9):449-458. doi: 10.1016/j.medcli.2020.11.009. Epub 2021 Jan 1.
[Article in English, Spanish]


The aim of this study was to assess the psychological impact among healthcare workers who stand in the frontline of the SARS-CoV-2 crisis and to compare it with the rest of healthcare professionals, by means of a systematic review of Western publications. The systematic review was carried out in PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science databases and 12 descriptive studies were reviewed. The European and American quantitative studies reported moderate and high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and burnout, with diverse coping strategies and more frequent and intense symptoms among women and nurses, without conclusive results by age. In the first line of assistance the psychological impact was greater than in the rest of the health professionals and in the Asian area. It is necessary to go deeper into the emotional experiences and professional needs for emotional support in order to design effective interventions for protection and help.

Keywords: Coronavirus; Emergency medical services; Emociones; Emotions; Estrés psicológico; Health personnel; Intensive care units; Mental health; Personal de salud; Revisión sistemática; Salud mental; Servicios médicos de urgencias; Stress psychological; Systematic Review; Unidades de Cuidados Intensivos.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • COVID-19*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology