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Epidemiology of SARS in healthcare workers


T. W. Wong1, W. Q. Chen2, Y. Gao1.1Department and Community & Family Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; 2Department of Medical Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

Objective: To study the anxiety experienced by healthcare workers (HCWs) during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in Hong Kong and the influence of psychosocial factors on their anxiety levels.

Methods: Using a self administered questionnaire that measured anxiety, perceived stress, coping style, social support, and demographic characteristics, 714 HCWs in a major teaching hospital in Hong Kong (where the first and largest hospital outbreak of SARS occurred) were surveyed. Factor analysis was used to obtain different sources of stress and patterns of coping style. Hierarchical linear regression analysis was used to explore the association between the subjects’ anxiety levels and these psychosocial factors.

Results: The mean (SD) score of anxiety among the HCWs was 36.52 (10.48) (range 20 to 77). Those working in SARS wards had a significantly higher mean score than those working in other wards (40.17 v 34.61). Seven sources of stress were obtained by factor analysis from 36 stressors, which explained 65.6% of the total variance. They were respectively defined as “perceived stress from SARS”, “perceived stress from SARS spread”, “being afraid of presenting at public place”, “being afraid of less social support due to SARS”, “perceived stress from environment at workplace”, “perceived stress from current job”, and “perceived stress from using protective measures”. Five patterns of coping style were identified by factor analysis from 22 coping methods and explained 49.96% of the total variance. They were respectively referred to as “eating behaviours”, “negative emotional behaviours”, “active coping behaviours”, “escaping behaviours” and “protective behaviours”. Hierarchical linear regression analysis indicated …

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