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Anxiety among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal study

Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare workers faced extreme working conditions and were at higher risk of infection with the coronavirus. These circumstances may have led to mental health problems, such as anxiety, among healthcare workers. Only few studies on anxiety among healthcare workers during the pandemic exist and they are mainly cross-sectional and only cover the first months of the pandemic. This study aimed to investigate the longitudinal association between working in healthcare and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: Data were used from online questionnaires of the Lifelines COVID-19 prospective cohort with 22 included time-points (March 2020-November 2021). In total, 2,750 healthcare workers and 9,335 non-healthcare workers were included. Anxiety was assessed with questions from the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview, and an anxiety sum score (0-7) was calculated. Negative binominal generalized estimating equations (GEE), adjusted for demographic, work and health covariates, were used to examine the association between working in healthcare and anxiety. 
Results: Anxiety sum scores over time during the COVID-19 pandemic were similar for healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers. No differences between the anxiety sum scores of healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers were found (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.91-1.04). 
Conclusion: This study did not find differences between healthcare workers and non-healthcare in perceived anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Year of publication



Frontiers Public Health


Bosma, E.
Feenstra, V.
van Oostrom, S.H.
Lifelines Corona Research Initiative
Proper, K.I.

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