Toshiyuki Ishioka, Ayahito Ito, Hideki Miyaguchi, Haruki Nakamura, Daisuke Sawamura; Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on Occupational Therapists: An Online Survey in Japan. Am J Occup Ther 2021;75(4):7504205010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2021.046813
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
Importance: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had a severe psychological impact on frontline and second-line medical workers. However, few empirical reports have been published on its impact on occupational therapists. Clarifying the mental health status of occupational therapists is important to maintain care quality and prevent psychological problems in this population.
Objective: To investigate the psychological impact of COVID-19 on Japanese occupational therapists in prefectures with and without severe pandemic-related restrictions and elucidate factors associated with psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Design: A cross-sectional online survey using region-stratified two-stage cluster sampling conducted May 28–31, 2020.
Participants: The sample included 371 participants (63.1% women) in the prefectures under specific cautions (i.e., where residents were strictly advised to refrain from outings) and 1,312 in the prefectures without such cautions (61.9% women).
Results: The increase in workload due to the pandemic was significantly related to an increase in anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and an attempt to avoid talking face to face with others was significantly related to an increase in anxiety regardless of area. In prefectures under specific cautions as of May 25, 2020, the provision of sufficient information on COVID-19 by the workplace significantly reduced the risk of insomnia. In other prefectures, the provision of sufficient information significantly reduced the risk of depression.
Conclusions and Relevance: These results demonstrate the severe negative psychological impact of the increase in workload resulting from COVID-19 and suggest the importance of psychological support for occupational therapists, such as the provision of sufficient information by the workplace.
What This Article Adds: This study highlights the importance of providing psychological support for occupational therapists worldwide.
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Excessive workload and attempts to minimize face-to-face conversations should be avoided.
Institutional support for occupational therapists, such as facilitating information updates and sufficient communication, is essential to mitigate mental health problems.
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