Stress and psychological impact on SARS patients during the outbreak.Can J Psychiatry. 2004 Jun; 49(6):385-90.CJ
To examine stress and psychological impact in severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patients during the 2003 outbreak. SARS is a novel, highly infectious pneumonia, and its psychological impact is still unclear.
At the peak of the outbreak, SARS patients (n = 79) and healthy control subjects (n = 145) completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and documented a range of psychological responses. Groups were balanced for age, sex, education, and living circumstances.
Stress was significantly higher in SARS patients than in healthy control subjects. Stress correlated significantly with negative psychological effects. Of SARS patients, 39% (n = 30) were infected health care workers; these individuals reported significantly more fatigue and worries about health than did other patients. Of patients, 25% (n = 20) requested psychological follow-up.
General stress and negative psychological effects are increased in SARS patients, particularly among infected health care workers. This may increase the risk of mood and stress-related disorders. Functional impairment is apparent in the postrecovery phase.