Psychological impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on non-frontline healthcare workers: results of a cross-sectional study in a tertiary care hospital in India

Sumit Thakar, Shreyas Singh, Avan Erhunmwunsee Dalton, Kiran Kumar Kadarappa


Background: The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic affected millions of people physically and many more psychologically. Health care workers (HCWs) are amongst those bearing the brunt of the pandemic-induced psychological trauma. This study was one of the first to analyze the psychological effects of the second pandemic wave in India on non-frontline HCWs, a group that has not received much consideration so far.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey-based study was performed on a cohort of 139 HCWs involved in non-covid services during the early phase of the second pandemic wave. In addition to information on demographics and other baseline characteristics, the survey included questions from the depression, anxiety, and stress scale-21 items (DASS-21).

Results: The prevalence rates of depression, anxiety and stress in the cohort were 14.33%, 15.82% and 12.23% respectively. Clinical HCWs had higher mean anxiety scores than the non-clinical group (p=0.01), while the depression and stress scores were similar across all groups (p=0.23 and 0.21, respectively). Multivariate analysis demonstrated correlation of multiple factors with the DASS-21 scores, of which covid positivity and a longer time spent on covid-related information correlated well with all the DASS-21 scale scores (p<0.05).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates reasonable prevalence rates of depression, stress and anxiety amongst non-frontline HCWs in the setting of the second covid wave in India. Clinical HCWs seem to be more prone to pandemic-induced anxiety during this wave. There is an urgent need for promoting psychological coping strategies amongst all classes of HCWs.


COVID-19, Psychological effects, Second wave, Non-frontline, Health care workers

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