Well-Being of Health Care Professionals Treating Opioid Use Disorder During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results From a National Survey

Psychiatr Serv. 2021 Aug 9;appips202100080. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.202100080. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected health care delivery, effects that are juxtaposed with health care professional (HCP) burnout and mental distress. The Opioid Use Disorder Provider COVID-19 Survey was conducted to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on clinical practice and HCP well-being.

Methods: The cross-sectional survey was e-mailed to listservs with approximately 157,000 subscribers of diverse professions between July 14 and August 15, 2020. Two dependent variables evaluated HCP functioning and work-life balance. Independent variables assessed organizational practices and HCP experiences. Covariates included participant demographic characteristics, addiction board certification, and practice setting. Multilevel multivariate logistic regression models were used.

Results: Among 812 survey respondents, most were men, White, and physicians, with 46% located in urban settings. Function-impairing anxiety was reported by 17%, and 28% reported more difficulty with work-life balance. Difficulty with functioning was positively associated with having staff who were sick with COVID-19 and feeling close to patients, and was negatively associated with being male and having no staff changes. Difficulty with work-life balance was positively associated with addiction board certification; working in multiple settings; having layoffs, furloughs, or reduced hours; staff illness with COVID-19; and group well-being check-ins. It was negatively associated with male gender, older age, and no staff changes.

Conclusions: Demographic, provider, and organizational-practice variables were associated with reporting negative measures of well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. These results should inform HCPs and their organizations on factors that may lead to burnout, with particular focus on gender and age-related concerns and the role of well-being check-ins.

Keywords: Alcohol and drug abuse; Burnout; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Health care worker; Well-being.