Article Title

Symptoms of anxiety, depression and fear in healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers undergoing outpatient COVID-19 testing in an urban Australian setting


This study assessed symptoms of anxiety, depression and fear of COVID-19 in members of the general community and healthcare workers (HCWs) attending for COVID testing. This cross-sectional study was conducted in a public hospital COVID-19 testing clinic (June–September 2020) using self-administered questionnaires (i.e. the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Fear of COVID-19 Scale). In all, 430 participants who met the criteria for COVID-19 testing with nasopharyngeal and throat swabs completed the questionnaires. The mean (±s.d.) age of participants was 37.6 ± 12.6 years. HCWs made up 35.1% of the sample. Overall, the mean (±s.d.) score for anxiety was 6.09 ± 4.41 and ‘case’ prevalence (any severity) was 151/430 (35.1%), higher than normative population scores. Higher anxiety was found in women (P = 0.001) and in clients who had previously been tested for coronavirus (P = 0.03). HCWs had lower anxiety scores than members of the general community (P = 0.001). For depression, the mean (±s.d.) score was 4.18 ± 3.60, with a ‘case’ prevalence (any severity) of 82/430 (19.1%), similar to normative population scores. Women reported a higher level of COVID-19 fear (P = 0.001), as did people with a lower education level (P = 0.001). A greater psychological impact of COVID-19 was observed in women, people undergoing repeat testing and participants reporting lower levels of educational attainment. HCWs had fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression than non-HCWs attending the same clinic for COVID-19 testing. This information can be used to plan mental health interventions in primary care and testing settings during this and future pandemics.


mental health, public health practice

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