Proximity to COVID-19 patients and role-specific mental health outcomes of healthcare professionals

Yael Mayer, Shir Etgar, Noga Shiffman, Ido Lurie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Healthcare professionals (HCPs) experience extreme hardships and challenges during the time of COVID-19, due to their professional roles. At the same time, HCPs may experience a feeling of importance as contributing members of the community, which could enhance their well-being alongside COVID-19-work-related stressors. Aims: This cross-sectional study examined the relationship between HCPs' proximity to COVID-19 patients and role-specific fears of COVID-19 and sense of emotional, social and psychological well-being. Methods: Participants (N = 1,378) included: HCPs who treated COVID-19 patients (frontliners, n = 188), HCPs that did not work directly with COVID-19 patients (secondliners, n = 524), and a group of non-HCPs who served as the comparison group (n = 666). Participants completed the Depression and Anxiety Stress Scale-21; Fear of COVID-19 Scale; Fear of COVID-19 Familial Infection Scale; and the Mental Health Continuum Short-Form. Results: Results indicate that the comparison group reported higher levels of fear of COVID-19 compared to secondliners, while frontliners reported the highest levels of fear of infecting their families. Frontliners and secondliners HCPs reported significantly higher levels of social and psychological well-being compared to the non-HCP group. Conclusions: This study indicates that there are role-specific mental health outcomes related to HCP’s proximity to COVID-19 patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1079
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number6
Early online date10 Jan 2022
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • frontline
  • healthcare professionals
  • mental health
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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