Subjective burden and perspectives of German healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Victoria Kramer, Irina Papazova, Andreas Thoma, Miriam Kunz, Peter Falkai, Thomas Schneider-Axmann, Anke Hierundar, Elias Wagner, Alkomiet Hasan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Healthcare workers (HCW) face tremendous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Little is known about the subjective burden, views, and COVID-19 infection status of HCWs. The aim of this work was to evaluate the subjective burden, the perception of the information policies, and the agreement on structural measures in a large cohort of German HCW during the COVID-19 pandemic. This country-wide anonymous online survey was carried out from April 15th until May 1st, 2020. 25 content-related questions regarding the subjective burden and other dimensions were evaluated. We evaluated different dimensions of subjective burden, stress, and perspectives using 5-point Likert-scale questions. Moreover, the individual COVID-19 infection status, the amount of people infected in circle of friends and acquaintances and the hours working overtime were assessed. A total of 3669 HCWs provided sufficient responses for analyses. 2.8% of HCWs reported to have been tested positive for COVID-19. Nurses reported in principle higher ratings on all questions of subjective burden and stress than doctors and other hospital staff. Doctors (3.6%) and nurses (3.1%) were more likely to be tested positive for COVID-19 than other hospital staff (0.6%, Chi(2)2 = 17.39, p < 0.0005). HCWs who worked in a COVID-19 environment reported higher levels of subjective burden and stress compared to all other participants. Working in a COVID-19 environment increased the likelihood to be tested positive for COVID-19 (4.8% vs. 2.3%, Chi(1)2 = 12.62, p < 0.0005) and the severity of the subjective burden. During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses experience more stress than doctors. Overall, German HCWs showed high scores of agreement with the measures taken by the hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Early online date19-Aug-2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Stress
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemic
  • Personal burden
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

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