Depressive symptoms among primary healthcare workers during the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic in the Muscat governorate

Anwaar Al Lawati*, Thamra Al Ghafri, Huda Anwar, Fatma Al Ajmi, Said Al Hasani, Moon Fai Chan, Sangeetha Mahadevan, Samir Al-Adawi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract Background: With the unprecedented spread of the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, primary healthcare workers (PHCWs) are having to shoulder the increasing weight of this ongoing pandemic. Aims: This study explored the rate and covariates of depressive symptoms among PHCWs in the Muscat governorate. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted from 10 May to 10 June 2020 among PHCWs working in all primary healthcares across the Muscat governorate. Data on sociodemographic and risk factors of having at least one underlying physical health condition, a psychiatric history, family history of psychiatric disorders, and direct involvement with COVID-19 positive patients were sought. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) was then used to solicit the presence of depressive symptoms. Those with a cutoff point ≥10 were considered as showing depressive symptoms. Logistic regression was used to determine risk factors associated with depressive symptoms in PHCWs after adjusting for all sociodemographic factors. Findings: A total of 432 (72%) out of 600 PHCWs with an average age of 39.2 years (SD = 7.8 years) ranging between 25.0 and 75.0 years responded to the survey. There were more females (n = 281, 65.3%) than males, and more than 45% (n = 195) of them were physicians. Additionally, more than 78% (n = 338) had been in contact with COVID-19 patients. There was a significant association between different age groups and profession (PA <A.001), having at least one underlying physical health condition (P = 0.001) and depressive symptom status (P = 0.038). A total of 78 out of the 423 subjects (18.1%) were considered to have depressive symptoms. After adjusting for all factors, the logistic regression model showed that an age of 34 years or below (OR = 2.079, P = 0.021) and having at least one underlying physical health condition (OR = 2.216, P = 0.007) were factors contributing significantly to depressive symptoms among the PHCWs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000335
JournalPrimary Health Care Research and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 3 2021


  • Key words: depressive symptoms
  • PHQ-9
  • novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic
  • primary healthcare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Care Planning

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