Factors associated with mental health burdens in physical therapists during the late stage of the COVID-19 pandemic
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College of Rehabilitation Medicine, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China
Department of physical therapy for Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Beni-Suef University, Egypt
First Affiliated Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China
October University for Modern Science and Art (MSA), Cairo, Egypt
Submission date: 2022-04-05
Acceptance date: 2022-10-17
Publication date: 2024-03-25
Physiother Quart. 2024;32(1):57-65
It has been a long time since the emergence of COVID-19 in China and its spread worldwide. Vaccines are a promising solution to overcome COVID-19 infection. Still, vaccine hesitancy is the only barrier to controlling the pandemic, as thinking about its side effects induces psychological exhaustion. There is still a lack of research targeting the mental health of Physical Therapists (PTs), especially during the late stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the study’s main aim was to identify the prevalence of anxiety, depression and insomnia and identify risk factors that influence anxiety and depression.

A cross-sectional online survey via anonymous questionnaires and questions about socio-demographic information was launched on social media in the second half of February 2021.

Prevalence of anxiety, depression, and insomnia was 42.7%, 50.10%, and 89.30%, respectively, among physical therapists. Common factors that induce anxiety and depression were having children and needing psychological support. Other risk factors for anxiety only were working in a quarantine hospital, being infected with COVID-19, self-isolation after return from the hospital, and hesitance about vaccine effectiveness. Treating COVID-19 patients and having a family member who had died from COVID-19 were risk factors for depression. Consulting a psychiatrist reduced this risk of depression.

Elevated mental health disturbances triggered the alarm for urgent psychological rehabilitation to prevent the failure of health care systems in this critical period. Additionally, fighting the anti-vaccine movement should be a priority along with enhancing telerehabilitation programs in hospitals.

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