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Literature investigating the change in psychological problems of the health care workers (HCWs) throughout the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is lacking. We aimed at comparing the psychological problems and attitudes toward work among HCWs over two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
A survey was conducted involving HCWs (n = 305, first wave, 2020; n = 325, second wave, 2021). Participants’ demographic and professional and psychological characteristics (using attitude toward COVID-19 questionnaire [ATCQ]; Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale – 21 Items and impact of event scale – 22) were recorded. The unpaired t-test/chi-squared test was used for comparison.
Significant improvements (χ2(1) = 7.3 to 45.6, P < 0.05) in level of depression (42.2% vs 9.6%), anxiety (41.3% vs 16.3%), stress (30.1% vs 6.7%), event-related stress symptoms (31.2% vs 27%), work-related stress (89.8% vs 76.8%), and stigma (25.9% vs 22.8, though marginally significant) were found among the participants of the second wave (vs first wave). However, on subgroup analysis, allied-HCWs (housekeeping staff and security personnel) reported lesser concerns over the domains of the ATCQ vis-a-viz frontline-HCWs (doctors and nurses).
This improvement could be attributed to greater awareness about the illness, better coping skills, vaccination, and so forth; however, more research is warranted to investigate these determinants.