Shared trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic: Psychological effects on Israeli mental health nurses

Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2022 Jun;31(3):722-730. doi: 10.1111/inm.12996. Epub 2022 Mar 28.


Mental health nurses, tasked with the constant care of clients undergoing mental health treatment, have faced unique challenges arising from the uncertain outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic. The shared exposure of both nurses and their patients to a traumatic event such this pandemic leads to additional challenges and ways of coping. The psychological effects of this shared trauma on mental health nurses arising from the pandemic are the subject of this study. An online survey was used to examine personal levels of anxiety and concern, personal and national resilience (NR), and posttraumatic growth (PTG) among 183 mental health nurses working in mental health services in Israel. Overall, the study revealed moderate levels of concern and relatively low levels of anxiety, with significant negative correlations between personal and NR and levels of concern and anxiety. Higher levels of personal and NR were related to lower levels of concern and anxiety, and there was a significant positive correlation between assessments of personal resilience and NR. A significant positive correlation was found between personal and NR and PTG. Higher religiosity was associated with higher resilience, and higher professional seniority was related to higher PTG. Finally, results for particular demographic subgroups indicate that in Israel, special attention should be given to those mental health nurses who have immigrated to Israel, are non-Jews or have less professional experience.

Keywords: COVID-19; posttraumatic growth; psychiatric nursing; psychological trauma; resilience.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Mental Health
  • Pandemics
  • Posttraumatic Growth, Psychological*
  • Resilience, Psychological*