Technostress and Digital Competence Among Health Professionals in Swiss Psychiatric Hospitals: Cross-sectional Study

C. Golz*, K.A. Peter, T.J. Muller, J. Mutschler, S.M.G. Zwakhalen, S. Hahn

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Psychiatric hospitals are becoming increasingly digitized because of the disruptive rise in technical possibilities. This digitization leads to new tasks and demands for health professionals, which can have an impact on technostress. It is unclear whether digital competence reduces technostress and how technostress affects health professionals' mental and physical health.Objective: This study aims to assess the association between digital competence and technostress, considering individual characteristics and the association between technostress and long-term consequences for health professionals.Methods: Cross-sectional data from 3 Swiss psychiatric hospitals were analyzed using multiple linear regression. The dependent variables for the models were digital competence, technostress, and long-term consequences (intention to leave the organization or the profession, burnout symptoms, job satisfaction, general health status, quality of sleep, headaches, and work ability). One model was calculated for each long-term consequence. The mean scores for technostress and digital competence could range between 0 (fully disagree) and 4 (fully agree), where a high value for technostress indicated high technostress and a high value for digital competence indicated high digital competence.Results: The sample comprised 493 health professionals in psychiatric hospitals. They rated their technostress as moderate (mean 1.30, SD 0.55) and their digital competence as high (mean 2.89, SD 0.73). Digital competence was found to be significantly associated with technostress (beta=-.20; P<.001). Among the individual characteristics, age (beta=.004; P=.03) and profession were significantly associated with both digital competence and technostress. Technostress is a relevant predictor of burnout symptoms (beta=10.32; P<.001), job satisfaction (beta=-6.08; P<.001), intention to leave the profession (beta=4.53; P=.002), organization (beta=7.68; P<.001), general health status (beta=-4.47; P<.001), quality of sleep (beta=-5.87; P<.001), headaches (beta=6.58; P<.001), and work ability (beta=-1.40; P<.001).Conclusions: Physicians and nurses who have more interaction with digital technologies rate their technostress higher and their digital competence lower than those in other professions. Health professionals with low interaction with digital technologies appear to overestimate their digital competence. With increasing digitization in psychiatric hospitals, an increase in the relevance of this topic is expected. Educational organizations and psychiatric hospitals should proactively promote the digital competence of health professionals to manage expected disruptive changes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31408
Number of pages11
JournalJMIR Mental Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • technostress
  • digital competence
  • psychiatry
  • health professionals
  • multiple regression

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