Mental health status among family members of health care workers in Ningbo, China, during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak: a cross-sectional study.BMC Psychiatry. 2020 07 17; 20(1):379.BP
To date, the psychological impact of COVID-19 epidemic among family members of health care workers (HCWs) in China has been neglected. This cross-sectional study investigates the mental health status and related factors in families of HCWs employed in designated hospitals in Ningbo, China.
Family members of HCWs in five designated hospitals in Ningbo, China, were recruited in February, 2020 for this study. Demographic variables, COVID-19-related events in the lives of the participants, knowledge of COVID-19, and the working status of family members (that is, HCWs) were collected using online self-administered questionnaires. Mental health status was assessed using the Chinese versions of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the main factors associated with the mental health conditions.
In total, 845 participants completed the questionnaires correctly (95.80% response rate). The prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms were respectively 33.73% (95% CI: 30.53-36.92%) and 29.35% (95% CI: 26.27-32.43%) when a cut-off score of 5 was used for GAD-7 and PHQ-9. Risk factors for anxiety symptoms included more time (hours) spent thinking about the COVID-19, and whether or not family members (that is, HCWs) had direct contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients while high participants' self-reported safety scores for HCW's protective equipment was a protective factor. More time (hours) spent thinking about COVID-19, longer average working time per week worked by family members (that is, HCWs), and being parents and other next of kin of HCWs were risk factors for depressive symptoms. Compared to participants who were HCWs, participants who were private sector workers were more likely to develop depressive symptoms, while government or institutional employees were less likely to suffer from depressive symptoms.
Psychological responses to COVID-19 have been dramatic among family members of HCWs during the rising phase of the outbreak. Our findings provide strong evidence to examine and attend to the mental health of this population during the COVID-19 epidemic.