Psycho-behavioral responses of Nigerian health workers to an initial human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus disease
Accepted: 25 April 2022
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Previous pandemics have had significant impact on psychological well-being of front-line health care workers. Issues such as fear of contracting the disease, high workload as a result of high numbers of infected cases, increased job stress and unavailability of personal protective equipment have been implicated in development of psychological distress in this subset of individuals. The aim of the present paper is to describe psychobehavioral responses of health care workers and potential predictors of emotional response at onset of COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria. Cross-sectional web-based survey and 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire (GAD-7) were administered anonymously to 444 respondents comprising various categories of frontline healthcare workers. Stepwise multiple linear regression was used to determine predictors of anxiety scores. Participants were mostly young adults (mean age 38 years), females (57%), living with a partner (78.2%) and medical doctors (56.8%). Restrictions in clinical activities and use of hand sanitizers were commonest precautionary behaviors. Commonest emotional responses were anger and despair (27.0% and 25.7%), respectively. About 42.8% had clinically significant anxiety symptoms with highest burden among nurses. Perception of likelihood of 2nd wave (p=0.03), self-preparedness (p=0.04), gender (p=0.01) and cadre (p=0.02) were significant predictors of emotional response of anxiety. Study findings highlighted diverse psychological reactions of health care workers with a large proportion screening positive for significant anxiety symptoms. This has implications for planning a comprehensive psychosocial response to COVID-19 pandemic and for future pandemics among frontline health care workers in lowresource settings.
Copyright (c) 2022 Justus Onu, Tonia Onyeka, Ngozichukwu Nneka Unaogu, Alhassan Datti Mohammed, Kehinde Okunade, Sunday Oriji, David Agom, Dorothy Ekewuba, Cajetan Okwudili Alumona, Chidiebere Peter Echieh, Adaeze Ozoagu
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