Does pain that does not kill people make them stronger?: Six-month follow-up of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Yılmaz Karaman İ. G., İnce F. E., Yastıbaş C.

34th ECNP Congress – Lisbon 2021 Hybrid, Lisbon, Portugal, 2 - 05 October 2021, pp.583-584

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Lisbon
  • Country: Portugal
  • Page Numbers: pp.583-584
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


Introduction: COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact

on the mental health and well-being of healthcare workers

(HCW). Although compelling life events may cause psychiatric

disorders, sometimes they may end up with positive

changes like post-traumatic growth.

Aims: We aimed to evaluate HCWs’ traumatic stress, anxiety,

and depression levels, as well as post-traumatic growth

levels in the stressful period of the pandemic. Besides we

intend to determine the changes of these variables during

the pandemic process.

Methods: We took the first measurements between May

2020 and July 2020, the second measurements between

November 2020 and January 2021. We used sociodemographic

data form, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-

9), Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), Impact of

Events Scale-Revised (IES-R), Post-traumatic Growth Inventory

(PTGI) for data collection. Statistical analyses were

performed using the statistical program for social sciences

SPSS version 23. Measures of skewness and kurtosis were

used to assess the normality of the data. Since the data

showed a normal distribution, we used paired sample Ttest

to compare the baseline and six-month follow-up of the

measurement tools.

Results: 66 health care workers (HCW) were recruited in

this study. 42 (%63.6) HCWs were female, 42 (%63.6) of them

were frontline HCWs, 40 (%60.6) participants were married.

The mean age was 33.51 ± 9.33, the median value of working

years was 8 (4-17). While 16 (24.2 %) HCWs reported major

depressive symptoms during the first study, this prevalence

increased to 22 (33.3%) after six-month measurement.

15 (22.8%) HCWs reported generalized anxiety symptoms in

the first measurement, this trend remained the same, 15

(22.8%), in the second measurement. When the traumatic

stress symptoms were examined, 19 (28.8%) HCWs stated

that severe level of distress in the first measurement, this

prevalence elevated to 20 (30.3%) in the follow-up measurement.

22(33,3 %) HCW reported moderate and high levels of

PTG during the first measurement, 18 (27,3%) HCW reported

moderate and high levels of PTGI.

There was no significant difference between the baseline

depression scores and six-month follow-up (p > 0.05). Similarly,

non-significant differences were found between baseline

and six-month follow-up measurements for anxiety and

traumatic stress scores (p > 0.05). As we compared PTGI

scores of HCWs in the first and second measurements, a

statistically significant difference occurred (p = 0.023). PTGI

scores of the participants significantly decreased over time.

Although the change in depression and distress scores of the

participants in the first and second measurements was not

clinically significant, the scores of depression and distress

increased over time (see Table 1).

Conclusion: Previous studies indicate an inverse-parabolic

relationship between traumatic stress and PTGI score. Our

study provides consistent results. As long as the stressors

continue to exist, like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,

individual’s traumatic stress levels increase, and psychi-

atric disorders become more common. Additionally, positive

changes like post-traumatic growth decrease in this con-