Thursday, 19 May, 2022
HomeA Practitioner's Must ReadCOVID-related stress levels higher in paramedics than doctors — COVISTRESS survey

COVID-related stress levels higher in paramedics than doctors — COVISTRESS survey

Worldwide in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals demonstrated very high stress levels, with the risk more acute for paramedical staff than doctors, found a study in PLOS ONE.

Women and people aged under 50 also experienced especially high levels of stress.

Many studies have focused on the stress and concern of healthcare professionals during this time but relatively fewer have compared the stress of physicians to paramedical staff or fully assessed other risk factors for stress. In this study, Sebastien Couarraze of University Hospital of Toulouse, France, and colleagues, used data from COVISTRESS, an international questionnaire distributed online that has collected demographic and stress-related information during the pandemic.

The researchers analysed 10,051 workers—including 1379 healthcare workers, 631 medical doctors and 748 paramedical staff—from 44 countries who completed the survey from January to June 2020.

The stress levels during the first wave of the pandemic—on a visual analogue scale from 0 to 100—were 57.8 ± 33 in the whole cohort, 65.3 ± 29.1 in medical doctors and 73.6 ± 27.7 in paramedical staff.

Healthcare professionals demonstrated an increased risk of very high stress levels (over 80 on the scale) compared with other workers (OR=2.13, 95% CI 1.87-2.34) and the risk for very high stress was higher for paramedical staff than doctors (1.88, 1.50-2.34). Across occupations, the risk of very high stress was also found to be increased in women compared with men (1.83, 1.61-2.09, p<0.001) and those under age 50 compared with older adults (1.45, 1.26-1.66, p<0.001).

The authors say that continuing to monitor work-related stress and its effect on healthcare workers is crucial for post-pandemic planning.

The authors add: “The health crisis caused by COVID-19 is unprecedented in the history of health. The effects on workers and in particular on their stress levels must be explored to put in place appropriate preventive measures. The results of our study show that workers have been particularly affected and that healthcare professionals have been the most affected. Among health professionals, nurses in particular had very high levels of stress.”

Study details

The major worldwide stress of healthcare professionals during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic – the international COVISTRESS survey

Sebastien Couarraze, Louis Delamarre, Fouad Marhar, Binh Quach, Jiao Jiao, Raimundo Aviles Dorlhiac, Foued Saadaoui, Andy Su-I Liu, Benoït Dubuis, Samuel Antunes, Nicolas Andant, Bruno Pereira, Ukadike Ugbolue, Julien  Baker, The COVISTRESS network, Maelys Clinchamps, Frederic Dutheil

Published in PLOS ONE on 6 October 2021

Abstract

Introduction
The COVID-19 pandemic has initiated an upheaval in society and has been the cause of considerable stress during this period. Healthcare professionals have been on the front line during this health crisis, particularly paramedical staff. The aim of this study was to assess the high level of stress of healthcare workers during the first wave of the pandemic.

Materials and methods
The COVISTRESS international study is a questionnaire disseminated online collecting demographic and stress-related data over the globe, during the pandemic. Stress levels were evaluated using non-calibrated visual analog scale, from 0 (no stress) to 100 (maximal stress).

Results
Among the 13,537 individuals from 44 countries who completed the survey from January to June 2020, we included 10,051 workers (including 1379 healthcare workers, 631 medical doctors and 748 paramedical staff). The stress levels during the first wave of the pandemic were 57.8 ± 33 in the whole cohort, 65.3 ± 29.1 in medical doctors, and 73.6 ± 27.7 in paramedical staff. Healthcare professionals and especially paramedical staff had the highest levels of stress (p < 0.001 vs non-healthcare workers). Across all occupational categories, women had systematically significantly higher levels of work-related stress than men (p < 0.001). There was a negative correlation between age and stress level (r = -0.098, p < 0.001). Healthcare professionals demonstrated an increased risk of very-high stress levels (>80) compared to other workers (OR = 2.13, 95% CI 1.87–2.41). Paramedical staff risk for very-high levels of stress was higher than doctors’ (1.88, 1.50–2.34). The risk of high levels of stress also increased in women (1.83, 1.61–2.09; p < 0.001 vs. men) and in people aged <50 (1.45, 1.26–1.66; p < 0.001 vs. aged >50).

Conclusions
The first wave of the pandemic was a major stressful event for healthcare workers, especially paramedical staff. Among individuals, women were the most at risk while age was a protective factor.

 

PLOS ONE article – The major worldwide stress of healthcare professionals during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic – the international COVISTRESS survey (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Almost half of ICU staff battle mental health issues during pandemic — International study

 

GMC survey: COVID stress hammers Britain's trainee doctors

 

Brazil's government in denial over COVID-19 catastrophe

 

 

MedicalBrief — our free weekly e-newsletter

We'd appeciate as much information as possible, however only an email address is required.