Anxiety Mood.  2022 Oct;18(2):80-91. 10.24986/anxmod.2022.18.2.006.

The Mental Health of Hospital Workers During the Initial Phase and Third Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring Risk and Protective Factors in the Prolonged Pandemic

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Myongji Hospital, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea
  • 2Office of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Myongji Hospital, Goyang, Korea
  • 3Department of Public Health Science, Seoul National University Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul, Korea


: Hospital workers’ mental health has deteriorated because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of hospital workers and its determinants.
: Two surveys were conducted among employees working in a hospital that received COVID-19 patients from the early phase of the pandemic in South Korea. Data on demographics, perceived threat, workplace evaluation, resilience, and mental health status were collected using the Korean General Health Questionnaire-20 in the initial phase (February 2020) and during the third wave of COVID-19 (December 2020) for 467 and 545 workers, respectively. The mental health of hospital workers in the two phases was compared, and the risk and protective factors during the third wave were investigated.
: The proportion of patients in the psychiatric high-risk group increased from 2.8% in the initial phase to 11.4% during the third wave. The perceived threat, workplace evaluation, and resilience of respondents deteriorated. Risk factors for mental health during the third wave included the perceived threat items of job stress, loss of control, and considering resignation. Protective factors included presence of children, workplace satisfaction, and hardiness in resilience.
: Hospital workers’ mental health deteriorated as the pandemic progressed. General stress and tension such as job stress, loss of control, considering resignation rather than COVID-19-specific stress had negative effects on mental health of hospital workers. Therefore, care for work stress itself can be helpful to maintain the mental health of hospital workers. Also, governance to improve workplace satisfaction or hardiness in resilience can be a potential protective factor for hospital workers’ mental health during the prolonged pandemic.


Pandemics; Hospital workers; Mental health; Risk factor
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