OHCOW Pandemic Research Published in Prestigious Journal
- Farinaz Havaei, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia
- Peter Smith, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
- John Oudyk, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
- Guy G. Potter, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Employee Occupational Health and Wellness, Duke University Medical Center
Published Online: Annals of Epidemiology, May 28,2021 (in press, pre-proof)
A research group in British Columbia, working with the BC Nurses Union, conducted a series of surveys using the GAD-7 anxiety symptom and PHQ9 depression questions in 2019. OHCOW also included several questions from the same scale in their 2020 Health Care Worker Pandemic Experience Survey (HCW-PES), launched nationally last April, with input waves in June and November. We were then able to sift out and share enough parallel BC-specific data from the HCW-PES so the research team could evaluate changes in the GAD-2 & PHQ-2 scores measured before and twice during the pandemic, creating a unique and valuable longitudinal study. Hence it’s acceptance in the respected Annals of Epidemiology.
“This study adopted a repeated cross-sectional design and surveyed unionized nurses in British Columbia (BC), Canada on three occasions: September 2019 (Time 1, pre-pandemic), April 2020 (Time 2, early-pandemic) and June 2020 (Time 3).”
“This study found a significant increase of 10% to 15% in anxiety and depression between Time 1 and 2, and relative stability between Time 2 and 3, with Time 3 levels still higher than Time 1 levels. Cross-sector analyses showed similar patterns of findings for acute care and community nurses. Long-term care nurses showed a two-fold increase in the prevalence of anxiety early pandemic, followed by a sharper decline mid pandemic.”
“The strong decline in anxiety and depression in the long-term care sector between the Time 2 and Time 3 surveys could be explained by a ?healthy worker survivor effect, where workers maintaining their employment tend to be healthier than those who leave . It is possible that long-term care nurses who were more anxious about COVID-19 left their positions in greater numbers than their counterparts who experienced fewer adverse mental health outcomes, therefore resulting in an apparent reduction in the prevalence of anxiety in this sector by June/July 2020 (Time 3).”
OHCOW Pandemic Experience Surveys remain open.
Please share your perspective, concerns and experience with us to seed similar research and understanding, which can hopefully lead to prevention of mental health impacts in future.