Methods. This cross-sectional study was conducted with fifty-seven healthcare volunteers from a temporary field hospital in New York City in June 2020. Participants completed measures of PTSD, anxiety, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, compassion satisfaction, social support, and coping. Pearson’s correlations and one-way ANOVA analyses explored the relationships between socio-demographic characteristics and survey measures. Three separate multiple linear regression analyses assessed predictors of secondary traumatic stress, burnout, and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSD). All analyses were conducted in SPSS 27.0.
Results. Participants primarily identified as male (n=36), White (n=43), were between 26-35 years old (n=26), and volunteered at the field hospital for 2-4 weeks (n=25). Sixteen percent (n=9) scored above the clinical cutoff for PTSD, 57% (n=30) experienced mild burnout, and 70% (n=40) reported high levels of secondary traumatic stress. Bivariate correlations illustrated significant and positive linear relationships between PTSD, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and avoidant coping. Burnout was inversely and significantly related to higher levels of social support and adaptive coping. Regression analyses indicated that avoidant emotional coping (B=.78, t (51)=4.84, p<.001) and number of hours worked per week during deployment (B=.2.90, t (51)=2.11, p<.05) predicted higher levels of secondary traumatic stress.
Conclusions and Implications. Exploring the psychological impact of COVID-19 among healthcare volunteers is a crucial first step towards understanding the toll of the pandemic on this group. Our study illustrated that volunteers experienced heightened rates of mental health symptoms, however, protective factors including social support and adaptive coping were associated with lower symptomology. Interventions designed to increase protective factors and reduce pandemic related psychopathology can aid healthcare providers both during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the longer-term recovery.