Level of anxiety and depression among healthcare workers in Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Background. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic places a high demand on frontline healthcare workers. Healthcare workers are at high-risk of contracting the virus and are subjected to its consequential emotional and psychological effects. This study aimed to measure the level of depression and anxiety among healthcare workers in Saudi Arabia during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods. This was a cross-sectional study; data were collected from healthcare workers in Saudi Arabia using a survey that included the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale-7. A total of 326 participants took part in the study by completing and submitting the survey. Results. The vast majority of the participating healthcare workers were Saudi nationals (98.8%) working in a public healthcare facility (89.9%). The results indicated that most of the participants had mild levels of anxiety and depression. A total of 72.5% of the respondents had anxiety, ranging from mild (44.1%) to moderate (16.2%) and severe (12.2%). Moreover, 24.4% of the respondents had depression ranging from mild (21.7%) to moderate (2.1%) and severe (0.6%). The generalized linear models showed that the <30 age group (Beta = 0.556, p = 0.037) and the 30-39-year age group (Beta = 0.623, p = 0.019) were predicted to have anxiety. The analysis revealed that females were more anxious (Beta = 0.241, p = 0.005) than males. Healthcare providers working in primary healthcare centers (Beta = −0.315, p = 0.008) and labs (Beta = −0.845. p = 0.0001 were predicted to be less anxious than those working in other healthcare facilities. The data analysis showed that participants with good economic status had more depression than the participants in the other economic status groups (Beta = 0.067, p = 0.003). Conclusion. This study found that the level of anxiety and depression in healthcare workers was mild. The factors that may contribute to anxiety in healthcare workers included being female, being younger than 30 or between the ages of 31 and 39, working in a specialized hospital facility, and the number of COVID-19 cases the workers dealt with. Economic status was associated with depression. A longitudinal study design is needed to understand the pattern of anxiety levels among healthcare workers over time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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