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A multinational, multicentre study on the psychological outcomes and associated physical symptoms amongst healthcare workers during COVID-19 outbreak

By May 16, 2020 May 25th, 2020 No Comments

Chew et al investigated the association between psychological outcomes and physical symptoms among healthcare workers in Brain, Behaviour and Immunity.


  • Commonly reported symptoms are headache, throat pain and lethargy.
  • A large number of healthcare workers report more than four symptoms.
  • Those with physical symptoms had higher rates of depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD.
  • Those with physical symptoms had higher mean scores in the IES-R, DASS subscales.
  • Association between physical symptoms and psychological outcomes may be bidirectional.

Healthcare workers from 5 major hospitals, involved in the care for COVID-19 patients, in Singapore and India were invited to participate in a study by performing a self-administered questionnaire within the period of February 19 to April 17, 2020.

Healthcare workers included doctors, nurses, allied healthcare workers, administrators, clerical staff and maintenance workers. This questionnaire collected information on demographics, medical history, symptom prevalence in the past month, Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21) and the Impact of Events Scale-Revised (IES-R) instrument.

The prevalence of physical symptoms displayed by healthcare workers and the associations between physical symptoms and psychological outcomes of depression, anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were evaluated.

Out of the 906 healthcare workers who participated in the survey, 48 (5.3%) screened positive for moderate to very-severe depression, 79 (8.7%) for moderate to extremely-severe anxiety, 20 (2.2%) for moderate to extremely-severe stress, and 34 (3.8%) for moderate to severe levels of psychological distress. The commonest reported symptom was headache (32.3%), with a large number of participants (33.4%) reporting more than four symptoms. 

Read more in Science Direct