Jáuregui Renaud K, Cooper-Bribiesca D, Martínez-Pichardo E, Miguel Puga JA, Rascón-Martínez DM, Sánchez Hurtado LA, Colin Martínez T, Espinosa-Poblano E, Anda-Garay JC, González Diaz JI, Cardeña E, Avelar Garnica F
Int J Environ Res Public Health 19 (1) - [2021-12-25; online 2021-12-25]
The COVID-19 pandemic has provoked generalized uncertainty around the world, with health workers experiencing anxiety, depression, burnout, insomnia, and stress. Although the effects of the pandemic on mental health may change as it evolves, the majority of reports have been web-based, cross-sectional studies. We performed a study assessing acute stress in frontline health workers during two consecutive epidemic waves. After screening for trait anxiety/depression and dissociative experiences, we evaluated changes in acute stress, considering resilience, state anxiety, burnout, depersonalization/derealization symptoms, and quality of sleep as cofactors. During the first epidemic wave (April 2020), health workers reported acute stress related to COVID-19, which was related to state anxiety. After the first epidemic wave, acute stress decreased, with no increase during the second epidemic wave (December 2020), and further decreased when vaccination started. During the follow-up (April 2020 to February 2021), the acute stress score was related to bad quality of sleep. However, acute stress, state anxiety, and burnout were all related to trait anxiety/depression, while the resilience score was invariant through time. Overall, the results emphasize the relevance of mental health screening before, during, and after an epidemic wave of infections, in order to enable coping during successive sanitary crises.