Document Type



Medical College Pakistan; Community Health Sciences


Healthcare workers (HCWs) have found themselves and their families more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. This puts them at a higher risk of psychological distress, which may compromise patient care. In this study, we aim to explore the risk perceptions and psychological distress between HCWs and non-healthcare workers (NHCWs) in Pakistan.
A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online self-administered questionnaire. Psychological distress was assessed through The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Comparisons were made between HCWs (front/backend, students/graduates) and NHCWs related to risk perceptions and stress levels related to COVID19. Following tests for normality (Shapiro–Wilk test), variables that fulflled the normality assumption were compared using the independent samples t-test, while for other variables Mann–Whitney U-test was employed. Pearson Chisquare test was used to compare categorical data. Multiple logistic regression techniques examined the association of participant age, gender, household income, and the presence of COVID-19 symptoms with depression and anxiety levels.
Data from 1406 respondents (507 HCWs and 899 NHCWs) were analyzed. No signifcant diference was observed between HCWs and NHCWs’ perception of susceptibility and severity towards COVID-19. While healthcare graduates perceived themselves (80% graduates vs 66% students, p-value 0.011) and their family (82% graduates vs 67% students, p-value 0.008) to be more susceptible to COVID-19, they were less likely to experience depression than students. Frontline HCWs involved in direct patient care perceived themselves (83% frontline vs. 70% backend, p-value 0.003) and their family (84% frontline vs. 72% backend, p-value 0.006) as more susceptible to COVID-19 than backend healthcare professionals. Over half of the respondents were anxious (54% HCWs and 55% NHCWs). Female gender, younger age, lower income, and having COVID-19 related symptoms had a signifcant efect on the anxiety levels of both HCWs and NHCWs.
Frontline HCWs, young people, women, and individuals with lower income were at a higher risk of psychological distress due to the pandemic. Government policies should thus be directed at ensuring the mental


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Human resources for health

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.