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Background and Objectives: For doctors at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, failure to acknowledge and act on the warning signs of stress can adversely affect their professional, social and personal life. We conducted a nationwide survey of a large sample of Indian doctors to measure levels of perceived stress, identify risk factors for severe stress and assess their response to current issues related to the safety and well-being of the community.
Methods: An online survey using Google forms was conducted between 1st May 2020 and 15th May 2020. The core component of the survey was the standardized Perceived Stress Scale answered on a Likert scale.
Results: Out of 520 responders, 394 (76%) were under 45 years of age 101 (19%) were between 18-30 years and 37 (7%) were above 60 years. 312(60%) were male doctors and 203 (40%) were female doctors. 90% of respondents had a post-graduate degree, 48(9%) had undergraduate degree and 168(32%) had super specialty degree. 313 (60.2%) of the respondents were practising in the private sector, 169 (33%) worked in public sector hospitals and 32(7%) in charitable hospitals. 109 (21%) had low stress, while 371 (71%) and 40 (8%) reported moderate and severe stress respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed the female gender, being financially insecure and ICU a place of work as independent risk factors for severe stress.
Conclusion: This is the first such survey done in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic from the Indian sub-continent and has identified factors that have the potential to adversely impact the mental health of doctors. These findings are applicable to many countries in Asia and Africa with similar healthcare systems and can act as a valuable guide for authorities to establish support systems at multiple levels for these “COVID Warriors”.
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