Mental Well-Being During COVID-19


Objective: Measure the prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression, work-exhaustion, burnout, and decreased well-being among faculty and staff at a university and academic medical center during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and describe work-related and personal factors associated with mental health and well-being.

Design: Observational cohort study conducted between April 17 and May 1, 2020 using a web-based questionnaire.

Setting: Medical and main campuses of a university.

Participants: All faculty, staff, and post-doctoral fellows.

Exposures: Work factors including supervisor support and exposure to high-risk clinical settings; personal factors including demographics and family/home stressors.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Stress, anxiety, depression, work exhaustion, burnout, and decreased well-being.

Results: There were 5550 respondents (overall response rate of 34.3%). 38% of faculty and 14% of staff (n=915) were providing clinical care, while 57% of faculty and 77% of staff were working from home. The prevalence of anxiety, depression, and work exhaustion were somewhat higher among clinicians than non-clinicians. Among all workers, anxiety, depression, and high work exhaustion were independently associated with community or clinical exposure to COVID-19 [Prevalence Ratios and 95% confidence intervals 1.37(1.09- 1.73), 1.28(1.03 – 1.59), and 1.24(1.13 – 1.36) respectively]. Poor family supportive behaviors by supervisors were also associated with these outcomes [1.40 (1.21 – 1.62), 1.69 (1.48 – 1.92), 1.54 (1.44 – 1.64)]. Age below 40 and a greater number of family/home stressors were also associated with poorer outcomes. Among the subset of clinicians, caring for patients with COVID-19 and work in high-risk clinical settings were additional risk factors.

Conclusions and Implications: Our findings suggest that the pandemic has had negative effects on mental health and well-being among both clinical and non-clinical employees. Prevention of exposure to COVID-19 and increased supervisor support are modifiable risk factors that may protect mental health and well-being.

The full publication is freely available here.