Perceived hospital preparedness is negatively associated with pandemic-induced psychological vulnerability in primary care employees. A multicentre cross-sectional observational study


The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound negative impact on the psychological wellbeing of healthcare providers (HPs), but little is known about the factors that positively predict mental health of primary care staff during these dire situations. We conducted an online questionnaire survey among 702 emergency department workers across 10 hospitals in Switzerland and Belgium following the first COVID-19 wave in 2020, to explore their psychological vulnerability, perceived concerns, self-reported impact and level of pandemic workplace preparedness. Participants included physicians, nurses, psychologists and non-direct care employees (administrative staff). We tested for predictors of psychological vulnerability through both an exploratory cross-correlation with rigorous correction for multiple comparisons and model-based path modelling. Findings showed that the self-reported impact of COVID-19 at work, concerns about con-tracting COVID-19 at work, and a lack of personal protective equipment were strong positive predictors of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress, and low Resilience. Instead, knowledge of the degree of preparedness of the hospital/department, especially in the presence of a predetermined contingency plan for an epidemic and training sessions about protective measures, showed the opposite effect, and were associated with lower psychological vulnerability. All effects were confirmed after account-ing for confounding factors related to gender, age, geographical location and the role played by HPs in the hospital/department. Difficult working conditions during the pandemic had a major impact on the psychological wellbeing of emergency department HPs, but this effect might have been lessened if they had been informed about adequate measures for minimizing the risk of exposure.

Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 31:e2969
Corrado Corradi˗Dell'Acqua
Corrado Corradi˗Dell'Acqua
Neuroscientist - Cognitive Psychologist - Data Scientist