Depression, Anxiety, and Somatization Among Critical Care Professionals During the COVID Pandemic
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Professional Development and Education, Administration, Behavioral Health and Well Being, 2022
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INTRODUCTION/HYPOTHESIS:  Emotional response among workers in a critical care setting during the pandemic is complicated and not well studied.  The general population has a low prevalence of depression, anxiety, and somatization, but we hypothesized that these psychological problems would increase among ICU professionals during the pandemic. METHODS:  On April 7, 2020, an email survey was sent to the members of SCCM with a reminder email one week later to those who didn’t respond.  Collected information included demographic data, perception of caseload and course of the pandemic, and responses to psychological instruments assessing depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), and symptom somatization (PHQ-15). RESULTS:  939 ICU professionals responded to the survey, 37.2% male, 61.4% female, 1.4% gave another or no response.  Self-reporting of COVID experience showed 32.3% had encountered 0-50 COVID cases, 31.1% had encountered 51-200 cases, 12.5% had encountered 201-500 cases, 9.4% had encountered 501-1000 cases, and 13.7% had encountered greater than 1000 COVID cases.  Graded responses to the PHQ-9 depression scale showed 44.9% minimal, 31.1% mild, 14.3% moderate, and 9.7% with severe symptoms.  Graded responses to the GAD-7 anxiety scale showed 35.5% minimal, 32.9% mild, 16.8% moderate, and 14.8% with severe symptoms.  Graded responses to the PHQ-15 Somatization scale showed 39.6% minimal, 38.2% mild, 17.3% moderate, and 4.9% with a severe degree of somatic symptoms. DISCUSSION:  A snapshot survey of critical care workers in the April 2020 part of the pandemic showed a high percentage of critical care professionals experienced significant, diagnosable depression, anxiety, or somatic symptoms.  With the usual advice that a score of "moderate" or "severe" on any of these scales warrants individual intervention, it must be recognized that this is an alarming degree of mental health impact.  Immediate mitigation efforts are needed to preserve the health of our ICU workforce.
Meta Tag
Content Type Presentation
Knowledge Area Professional Development and Education
Knowledge Area Administration
Knowledge Area Behavioral Health and Well Being
Knowledge Level Foundational
Knowledge Level Intermediate
Knowledge Level Advanced
Learning Pathway Behavioral Health and Burnout
Membership Level Select
Tag Depression
Tag COVID-19
Tag Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Tag Psychology and Psychiatry
Tag Staffing
Year 2022
COVID-19 pandemic
psychological impact
critical care healthcare workers
Professional Development and Education
Behavioral Health and Well Being
Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Psychology and Psychiatry
Behavioral Health and Burnout


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