The Covid-19 crisis has caused high levels of anxiety and depression among doctors in the UK, Italy and Spain, a new study found
Examining 5,000 survey responses across the three countries found that Italian doctors were most likely to suffer during the crisis last year.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, measured the mental well-being of doctors in Catalonia (Spain), Italy and the UK in June, November and December 2020.
It found that around one in four doctors in Italy had symptoms of anxiety in June and December 2020, with around one in five reporting symptoms of depression over the same period.
In Catalonia, about 16 percent of doctors reported anxiety and about 17 percent suffered from depression. In the UK, about 12 percent of doctors reported anxiety and about 14 percent had symptoms of depression.
The study is one of the first cross-border analyzes of the mental well-being of health workers during the Covid-19 pandemic and the first to focus on doctors.
In all countries, female doctors were more likely to have anxiety or depression. In Italy, women doctors were 60 percent more likely to report symptoms of anxiety, compared with 54 percent in the UK.
Doctors under the age of 60 were more likely to experience anxiety and depression in each of the three countries, and an association between occupational safety perceptions and mental health was also found.
Clinicians from the three countries who felt exposed to the virus in their workplaces were all at higher risk of anxiety and poor mental health. Doctors who worked 40 hours or more in the previous week were also more likely to show symptoms.
Professor Quintana-Domeque, Professor of Economics at the University of Exeter Business School who conducted the study, said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has been classified as a traumatic event, arguably the most directly and long-term affected by healthcare workers Illness.
“Our study found a high prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression among doctors in both the first and second waves of the pandemic, and the similar patterns in all countries suggest that our results are applicable to other European situations.
“The results of this study suggest that institutional support for health workers, and doctors in particular, is important to protect and promote their mental health in current and future pandemics.”