Perceived Risk and Protection From Infection and Depressive Symptoms Among Healthcare Workers in Mainland China and Hong Kong During COVID-19

Simon Ching Lam, Teresa Arora, Ian Grey, Lorna Kwai Ping Suen, Emma Yun zhi Huang, Daofan Li, Kin Bong Hubert Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Psychological health among healthcare workers (HCWs) has become a major concern since the COVID-19 outbreak. HCWs perceived risks of contracting COVID-19, in relation to depression were investigated. It was hypothesized that perceived high risk of contracting COVID-19 (close contact with cases, inadequate provision of personal protective equipment, insufficient infection control training, and presence of symptoms) would be significant predictors of depression. Our cross-sectional survey was completed by HCWs across three regions (Hubei, Guangdong, Hong Kong) between March 9 to April 9 2020 using convenience sampling. Depression was assessed using the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Prevalence of depression was 50.4% (95% CI: 44.5-56.2), 15.1% (10.1-21.9) and 12.9% (10.3-16.2) for HCWs in Hong Kong, Hubei and Guangdong, respectively. The strongest significant risk factors for depression, after adjustment, were HCWs who reported the greatest extent of feeling susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and those who reported the greatest difficulty obtaining face masks. HCWs whose family/peers greatly encouraged face mask use had lower prevalence of depression. Access to adequate supplies of personal protective equipment is essential for the psychological health of HCWs working in stressful environments, through potentially easing their perceptions of vulnerability to COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number686
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


  • COVID-19
  • depression
  • healthcare workers
  • perceived vulnerability
  • personal protective equipment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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