Prevalence and severity of secondary traumatic stress and optimism in Indian health care professionals during COVID-19 lockdown

Manohar K N, Neha Parashar*, C.R. Satish Kumar, Vivek Verma, Sanjiv Rao, Sekhar Y, Vijay Kumar K, Amalselvam A, Hemkumar T R, Prem Kumar B N, Sridhar K, Pradeep Kumar S, Sangeeta K, Shivam, Chetan Kumar, Judith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the lacunae in the preparedness of healthcare systems across the globe. This preparedness also includes the safety of healthcare providers (HCPs) at various levels. Sudden spread of COVID-19 infection has created threatening and vulnerable conditions for the HCPs. The current pandemic situation has not only affected physical health of HCPs but also their mental health.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to understand the prevalence and severity of secondary traumatic stress, optimism parameters, along with states of mood experienced by the HCPs, viz., doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals (including Physiotherapist, Lab technicians, Phlebotomist, dieticians, administrative staff and clinical pharmacist), during the COVID-19 lockdown in India.

METHODOLOGY: The assessment of level of secondary traumatic stress (STS), optimism/pessimism (via Life Orientation Test-Revised) and current mood states experienced by Indian HCPs in the present COVID-19 pandemic situation was done using a primary data of 2,008 HCPs from India during the first lockdown during April-May 2020. Data was collected through snow-ball sampling technique, reaching out to various medical health care professionals through social media platforms.

RESULT: Amongst the study sample 88.2% of doctors, 79.2 of nurses and 58.6% of allied HCPs were found to have STS in varying severity. There was a female preponderance in the category of Severe STS. Higher optimism on the LOTR scale was observed among doctors at 39.3% followed by nurses at 26.7% and allied health care professionals 22.8%. The mood visual analogue scale which measures the "mood" during the survey indicated moderate mood states without any gender bias in the study sample.

CONCLUSION: The current investigation sheds light on the magnitude of the STSS experienced by the HCPs in the Indian Subcontinent during the pandemic. This hitherto undiagnosed and unaddressed issue, calls for a dire need of creating better and accessible mental health programmes and facilities for the health care providers in India.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0257429
Number of pages14
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2021


  • Anxiety/epidemiology
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Compassion Fatigue/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Personnel/psychology
  • Humans
  • India/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Optimism/psychology
  • Pandemics
  • Prevalence
  • SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress, Psychological/epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

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