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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

mental health, public health practice

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

https://www.publish.csiro.au/PY/PY21139

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