Long-term psychological and occupational effects of providing hospital healthcare during SARS outbreak. Academic Article uri icon

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  • Healthcare workers (HCWs) found the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) to be stressful, but the long-term impact is not known. From 13 to 26 months after the SARS outbreak, 769 HCWs at 9 Toronto hospitals that treated SARS patients and 4 Hamilton hospitals that did not treat SARS patients completed a survey of several adverse outcomes. Toronto HCWs reported significantly higher levels of burnout (p = 0.019), psychological distress (p<0.001), and posttraumatic stress (p<0.001). Toronto workers were more likely to have reduced patient contact and work hours and to report behavioral consequences of stress. Variance in adverse outcomes was explained by a protective effect of the perceived adequacy of training and support and by a provocative effect of maladaptive coping style and other individual factors. The results reinforce the value of effective staff support and training in preparation for future outbreaks.


  • Maunder, Robert G
  • Lancee, William J
  • Balderson, Kenneth E
  • Bennett, Jocelyn P
  • Borgundvaag, Bjug
  • Evans, Susan
  • Fernandes, Christopher MB
  • Goldbloom, David S
  • Gupta, Mona
  • Hunter, Jonathan J
  • McGillis Hall, Linda
  • Nagle, Lynn M
  • Pain, Clare
  • Peczeniuk, Sonia S
  • Raymond, Glenna
  • Read, Nancy
  • Rourke, Sean B
  • Steinberg, Rosalie J
  • Stewart, Thomas
  • VanDeVelde-Coke, Susan
  • Veldhorst, Georgina G
  • Wasylenki, Donald A

publication date

  • December 2006