Malik S, Ullah I, Irfan M, Ahorsu DK, Lin C, Pakpour AH, Griffiths MD, Rehman IU, Minhas R
BMC Public Health 21 (1) 833 [2021-04-30; online 2021-04-30]
The novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has seriously affected the lives of millions of people across the world. It has also heavily burdened healthcare professionals and the virus poses serious risks for their personal and professional lives. Therefore, the present study examined the associations between fear of COVID-19 and workplace phobia among doctors in Pakistan during the COVID-19 pandemic. An online survey was conducted among 421 doctors in Pakistan between April 10 and May 25, 2020. The Workplace Phobia Scale (WPS) and the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) were the main psychometric instruments used in this study. There was a significant positive relationship between fear of COVID-19 and workplace panic anxiety and workplace avoidance behavior. Significantly higher fear of COVID-19 was found among (i) females compared to males, (ii) doctors with 5 years or less of work experience compared to those with more than 5 years, and (iii) postgraduate trainees compared with other ranks. Two groups (doctors who were above 30 years old and postgraduate trainees) were found to have higher levels of workplace phobia compared to their counterparts. Doctors with severe levels of fear of COVID-19 had significantly higher levels of workplace panic anxiety and workplace avoidance behavior. Fear of COVID-19 was significantly associated with workplace phobia which may negatively affect doctors' performance. Therefore, important steps are needed to protect doctors' health by providing sufficient resources to allay their fears and anxieties which consequently help them in carrying out their frontline duties in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.