Citation Information :
Jain S, Talwar V, Kishore J, H, Ganapathy U. Social Stigma of COVID-19 Experienced by Frontline Healthcare Workers of Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care of a Tertiary Healthcare Institution in Delhi. Indian J Crit Care Med 2021; 25 (11):1241-1246.
Background: Social stigma is associated with Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) particularly against people who have contracted the disease or have come in contact with it. There is paucity of studies regarding the prevalence of social stigma against healthcare workers (HCWs) in COVID-19 hospitals in India. The objective of this study was to measure social stigma faced by frontline HCWs of Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care in a COVID-19 hospital and to assess the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics and social stigma.
Patients and methods: A cross-sectional study using a questionnaire (sociodemographic characteristics along with modified Berger HIV Stigma Scale) was conducted from October 10, 2020 to October 30, 2020, in the Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care. The survey was distributed among frontline HCWs using Google Forms as well as Bilingual Physical Form. Total stigma and subgroups of stigma scale were measured for different sociodemographic parameters and compared. Data were presented as mean ± standard deviation. p-value <0.05 was taken as significant.
Results: Out of 120 frontline HCWs participated in the study, 68 (56.6%) reported severe level of COVID-19-related stigma. The mean score of COVID-19-related stigma was 41 + 7.69. Mean scores for subgroups of stigma scale, i.e., personalized stigma, disclosure concerns, negative self-image, and concerns with public attitude, were 15.60 + 4.01, 6.68 + 3.21, 5.46 + 3.22, and 13.25 + 2.44, respectively. In the univariate analysis, the overall COVID-19-related stigma scores were associated with age >30 years, male gender, lower designation (technicians and nursing orderly), lesser education, and married HCWs. In logistic regression model, only male gender was significantly associated with severity of COVID-19 stigma.
Conclusion: This study concluded that more than half of frontline HCWs in the Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care experienced severe social stigma during COVID-19 pandemic, with highest stigma in concerns with public attitude subgroup. Severity of stigma was associated with age, male gender, designation, education, and marital status of HCW.
Highlights: Frontline HCWs of Department Anaesthesia and Critical Care experienced significant stigma related to COVID-19.
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