Exposure to Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Mental Health Outcomes among Healthcare Workers and The General Public

Khadeeja Munawar, Nadia Barki, Farhana Madhani, Fahad Riaz Choudhry


Evidence-based investigations targeting a wide array of healthcare workers (HCWs) and the general public are comparatively limited in Pakistan. Very few studies have empirically investigated the psychological effects and mental health outcomes of COVID-19 on HCWs and the general public in Pakistan. For this purpose, the present a cross-sectional study was conducted. This study was conducted amidst strict lockdown, hence; the data was collected through a web-based questionnaire through snowball survey technique. This study recruited a total of 230 (n = 132 general public, n = 98 frontline or second-line HCWs) participants from all over the country. Most of the participants fell in the 26-35 years of age category and 64.3% of the participants were women. Results showed that the severe psychological distress category was rated as the second most frequent category after the “normal” category. Severe levels of psychological distress were reported by the male participants as compared to females. The frontline HCWs reported severe symptoms of distress as compared to the second-line HCWs. Interestingly, most of the participants reported minimal depressive symptoms, however, as compared to HCWs, the general public reported severe depressive symptoms. Regarding the centrality of COVID-19-related events, the general public reported these events to be referential and influential in their lives. This paper is unique as it shows that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, HCWs and the general public experienced mental health problems and had several risk factors that increased their vulnerability to developing mental health issues. 

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