A survey of more than 500 health professionals, law enforcement agencies, food departments and the media revealed how their work during the first wave of pandemic affected their psychology.
During the first incarceration, several studies analyzed the psychological impact of the pandemic on the Spanish population. Their results showed significant levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. Rocío Rodríguez Rey, PhD and research professor of clinical and health psychology at Pontivia Comillas University, led one of them and published it in the journal Frontiers of Psychology.
Rodríguez Rey told SINC: “However, if we find that the incidence of psychological discomfort in the general population is worrying, then the situation is even worse in first-line occupations.” Based on this assumption, she and two other researchers Attempt to detect the psychological effects of the coronavirus. Basic worker The virus is most susceptible to infection during the first wave of pandemics.
After collecting data from more than 500 interviewees, his conclusion is clear: “Workers who were on the front line during the pandemic had a worse psychological impact than the general population,” he told SINC. Nereida Bueno Guerra, Professor of Pontiac Comillas University and coordinator of the work, in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
The researchers limited the research to four professional groups: Health workers, security forces, supermarket workers and media professionals. “Bueno Guerra explained: “We realize that we are excluding other professions, such as pharmacists, teachers, researchers… However, to conduct excellent research, we need a good sample. Without it, we will not be able to draw a general The conclusion. “.
Later, they conducted a survey to investigate issues related to psychological effects, grief, and health alerts, while also considering demographics and labor variables.total 546 professionals People who were active during the pandemic answered the survey. The data was collected between March 21 and June 4, 2020.
According to the survey results, 73.6% of health workers have confirmed that they have Serious psychological effectsThis is followed by 65.2% of food industry employees, 48.6% of communication professionals and “only” 26.5% of law enforcement personnel.
“We hope that the latter will become the most affected occupation along with health workers. However, the researchers pointed out that this is not a supermarket worker, but a supermarket worker.
“From what we have been seeing, this is caused by something very typical of the security forces: Perseverance. In other words, you don’t realize that a person is sick because he feels he must be willing to do anything,” Bueno Guerra explained. Suffered more consequences. Get used to taking risks“, Add to.
The study also considered another possible answer to this phenomenon. “Employees in the food sector are less educated than other groups and are recognized No training necessary Faced with this crisis, this crisis may increase their uncertainty and face the pain of coping with this new change,” he said.
Another problem analyzed in this survey focused on the emotions of workers.On this question “Are you frustrated?”49.8% of the participants in the health worker group and 56.2% of the participants in the grocery store answered “yes” or “maybe”, compared with 37.1% for media professionals and 37.1% for protection service workers It was 18.1%.
Among health workers and supermarket workers, the psychological impact of women was significantly higher than that of men, and no difference was found in the other two aspects.According to the researchers, this fact may be due to their Feminized industry. In other words, they are mainly employed by women, and they are forced to overwork.
Age has nothing to do with psychological effects. Except for media professionals, younger workers score higher in this area.
Regarding geographic location, they only found differences in medical staff, among which professionals in the most severely affected areas had a greater psychological impact.
Spread or infection
The participants were also asked about their concerns. The four groups agreed on three main areas: the possibility of infecting relatives, infecting oneself, and not knowing when this crisis will end.In turn, the highest level of this matter is Associated with a higher psychological impact score In all four samples.
However, differences have also been found on other issues, such as “making the coronavirus work.” In this regard, grocery store staff scored the highest, followed by health and protective services, while media professionals had far fewer scores.
Through disadvantages, Protective equipment With the exception of grocery store workers, all professional groups say they are insufficient.
Regarding workload, 60% of media professionals said they were overworked during the crisis. In this majority, 38.3% of the health staff consulted, 38.2% of the grocery store workers and 21.7% of the security forces also expressed this additional expense.
In all majors, the time of work overload exceeded 6 hours per week, and in the healthy group, the peak time was 11.64 hours. However, the average overtime hours have nothing to do with the psychological effects of participants. “The facts of a lot of work did not affect, but it affected the feeling of a lot of work. You may have worked for eight hours, but feel that you have completed three times the normal workload. Rodríguez Rey explained that you are at a loss.
Frontline does not support
One of the data that surprised researchers the most was that these professionals received very little psychological support. “More than 70% of health workers have a serious psychological impact, which is heinous. However, only 25% have received psychological help,” the person in charge of the study explained in detail.
“In special circumstances, society or rulers should Responsibility to help those people Faced with such a difficult situation,” Rodríguez Rey said. Regarding other groups, more than half of the workers in the protection services sector did not receive any support, and 60% of the professionals in the media and grocery stores The above means that at least one kind of help has been obtained from such personnel.
This Mediation This is the most supported type reported by the four groups, between 20% and 40%. Psychological support is mainly provided by health professionals (about a quarter), followed by 11% of protection service professionals. Finally, economic support is almost entirely concentrated on the food worker group (about 40%).
“All the services we care about [psicológica] It happened in disasters, attacks, air crashes… but it was a disaster that swept across the country. Bueno Guerra said: “This does not guarantee that all people will receive the same help services.”
In this study, the expression of applause and appreciation was also questioned. Recognition of their professional work Psychologically influenced by society. “Achieving the highest social recognition is related to the lower psychological impact of all groups. Except for media professionals“Said this research.
Research believes that the company’s human resources department is necessary Regularly monitor mental health Its workers. In addition, they are encouraged to schedule breaks and improve work processes to reduce stress and feelings of overwork. In addition, all front-line workers should be provided with personal protective equipment.
Finally, the text considers it necessary to guarantee or facilitate workers’ Get psychological support Both at the corporate level and at the government level, measures have been taken to increase people’s social recognition of their work.
Nereida Bueno Guerra said: “This is not a criticism of the human resources department, but we think they may focus more on activities that help the company operate rather than preventive activities for workers.” Both the company and the government are flawed“, he concluded.
Rodríguez-Rey, R. et al.: “Working in the COVID-19 era. The psychological impact of the pandemic on frontline workers in Spain”. Interpretation of J. About Res.Public health, 2020.