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Fear of COVID-19 Causes Psychological Distress in Nursing and Hospital Clerical Workers

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The University of Tsukuba researchers carried out a web-based survey among healthcare workers in hospitals that were treating COVID-19 patients. They aimed to find out how fear of COVID-19, resilience, and psychological distress were linked based on the workers' job roles. The study discovered that there was a relationship between these factors and the level of psychological distress experienced by nursing and clerical staff. These findings highlight the significance of having support and consultation systems in place to provide psychological help to these workers.

Tsukuba, Japan―The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant decline in mental health, particularly for hospital clerical workers who care for infected patients. However, few studies have examined the mental health of different hospital occupations in Japan, particularly in relation to fear of COVID-19 and resilience, which are unique factors of this pandemic.

To address this gap, the researchers conducted an online survey of workers from seven hospitals in Ibaraki Prefecture that had responded to COVID-19. The survey sought to determine the relationship between psychological distress, fear of COVID-19, and resilience among hospital workers based on their occupation. Participants were asked about their gender, age, job title, psychological distress, fear of COVID-19, and resilience. They were also asked about their perceptions of various hospital initiatives during the pandemic. The results showed that nursing and clerical staff experienced higher levels of fear of COVID-19, which contributed to their higher levels of psychological distress. Conversely, physicians were found to have higher resilience levels. The availability of in-hospital consultation on infection control and the provision of psychological and emotional support were linked to lower levels of fear of COVID-19.

These findings suggest that a comprehensive support system is crucial for mental health care of hospital workers dealing with the spread of infection. A framework that offers psychological and emotional support and a platform to discuss workplace-related concerns can be effective.

This study was supported in part by grants-in-aid from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Special Research Projects (20CA2055), "Research contributing to mental health measures in the With-COVID-19 Era" grant number (DGA02604J), and Ibaraki Prefectural Research Center of Disaster and Community Psychiatry (DLF00197E).

Original Paper

Title of original paper:
Association of fear of COVID-19 and resilience with psychological distress among health care workers in hospitals responding to COVID-19: analysis of a cross-sectional study
Frontiers in Psychiatry


Professor TACHIKAWA Hirokazu
Professor ARAI Tetsuaki
Professor YAMAGATA Kunihiro
Institute of Medicine, University of Tsukuba

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