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Article

Prolonged Stress Causes Depression in Frontline Workers Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study in a COVID-19 Hub-Hospital in Central Italy

1
Postgraduate School of Occupational Medicine, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 00168 Rome, Italy
2
Department of Woman/Child & Public Health, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, 00168 Rome, Italy
3
Department of Emergency, Anesthesiology and Resuscitation Sciences, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, 00168 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Holly Blake
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7316; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147316
Received: 21 June 2021 / Accepted: 7 July 2021 / Published: 8 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Workplace Health and Wellbeing during and beyond COVID-19)
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested the mental health of frontline health care workers. A repeated cross-sectional study can provide information on how their mental health evolved during the various phases of the pandemic. The intensivists of a COVID-19 hub hospital in Rome were investigated with a baseline survey during the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020, and they were contacted again in December 2020, during the second wave. Of the 205 eligible workers, 152 responded to an online questionnaire designed to measure procedural justice, occupational stress (effort/reward imbalance), sleep quality, anxiety, depression, burnout, job satisfaction, happiness, and turnover intention. Workers reported a further increase in workload and compassion fatigue, which had already risen during the first wave, and a marked reduction in the time devoted to meditation and mental activities. A low level of confidence in the adequacy of safety procedures and the need to work in isolation, together with an increased workload and lack of time for meditation, were the most significant predictors of occupational stress in a stepwise linear regression model. Occupational stress was, in turn, a significant predictor of insomnia, anxiety, low job satisfaction, burnout, and intention to leave the hospital. The number of workers manifesting symptoms of depression increased significantly to exceed 60%. Action to prevent occupational risks and enhance individual resilience cannot be postponed. View Full-Text
Keywords: emergency; infectious disease; organizational justice; stress; loneliness; compassion fatigue; meditation; prayer; insomnia; mental health; perspective study emergency; infectious disease; organizational justice; stress; loneliness; compassion fatigue; meditation; prayer; insomnia; mental health; perspective study
MDPI and ACS Style

Magnavita, N.; Soave, P.M.; Antonelli, M. Prolonged Stress Causes Depression in Frontline Workers Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study in a COVID-19 Hub-Hospital in Central Italy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 7316. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147316

AMA Style

Magnavita N, Soave PM, Antonelli M. Prolonged Stress Causes Depression in Frontline Workers Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study in a COVID-19 Hub-Hospital in Central Italy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(14):7316. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147316

Chicago/Turabian Style

Magnavita, Nicola, Paolo M. Soave, and Massimo Antonelli. 2021. "Prolonged Stress Causes Depression in Frontline Workers Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study in a COVID-19 Hub-Hospital in Central Italy" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 14: 7316. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147316

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