Background: Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been a cause of significant mental health disturbances in medical health personnel. However, 18 months into the pandemic, healthcare workers (HCWs) have become accustomed to the heightened stress and anxiety that comes with caring for COVID patients. Through this study, we aim to measure depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia in doctors with the help of validated scales.
Materials and methods: This was a cross-sectional study with an online survey design conducted among doctors from major hospitals in New Delhi. The questionnaire included participant demographics, including designation, specialty, marital status, and living arrangements. This was followed by questions from the validated depression, anxiety, stress scale (DASS-21), and insomnia severity index (ISI). Depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia scores were calculated for each participant, and the data were analyzed statistically.
Results: The mean scores of the whole study population showed no depression, moderate anxiety, mild stress, and subthreshold insomnia. Female doctors exhibited more psychological issues (mild depression and stress, moderate anxiety, but only subthreshold insomnia) as compared to males (mild anxiety, but no depression, stress, and insomnia). Junior doctors also had higher depression, anxiety, and stress scores than senior doctors. Similarly, single doctors, those living alone, and those not having kids had higher DASS and insomnia scores.
Discussion: HCWs have been under tremendous mental stress during this pandemic which is influenced by multiple factors. Female sex, junior doctors, working on the frontline, not being in a relationship, and living alone may be some of the factors recognized in our study and corroborated by many authors, which may increase the chances of depression, anxiety, and stress in them. HCWs need regular counseling, time off for rejuvenation, and social support to overcome this hurdle.