Ann Acad Med Singap. 2022 May;51(5):283-291.
INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost all populations, with frontline workers experiencing a higher risk of mental health effects compared to other groups. Although there are several research studies focusing on the mental health effects of the pandemic on healthcare workers, there is little research about its impact on workers in outsourced hospital essential services. This study aims to examine the prevalence and correlates of psychological distress and coronavirus anxiety among staff working in 3 outsourced hospital essential services-housekeeping, porter service and maintenance services.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among outsourced hospital essential services workers in a tertiary hospital. Data on demographics, medical history, lifestyle factors, psychosocial factors and mental well-being were collected using self-administered questionnaires. Robust logistic regression was used to determine risk factors associated with psychological distress and dysfunctional anxiety related to COVID-19.
RESULTS: A total of 246 hospital essential services workers participated in the study. The prevalence of psychological distress was 24.7%, and dysfunctional anxiety related to COVID-19 was 13.4%. Social support and workplace support were found to be independently associated with a lower risk of psychological distress, and social connectivity was associated with a lower risk of dysfunctional anxiety related to COVID-19.
CONCLUSION: These findings highlight the crucial roles of communities and workplaces in combating the mental health consequences of the pandemic. Public health programmes that aim to tackle the emerging mental health crisis in hospital essential services workers should incorporate strategies to address psychosocial factors, in addition to traditional self-care approaches.