OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to investigate the mental health and emotional reaction of physicians working during phase 1 of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. METHODS: A total of 458 Italian Health Care Workers (HCWs) working during phases 1 of the COVID-19 outbreak were voluntarily enlisted in the study and recruited with the snowball technique through an online survey. We examined our variables with the General Health Questionnaire - 12 and with Visual Analog Scales. RESULTS: The sample has a high level of psychological distress 21.26 (SD = 4.46), the emotional reaction was characterized by high level of fear for family members and cohabitants (M = 77.67, SD = 27.16) and patients (M = 67.16, SD = 27.71). Perceived control, fear for patients, and for family members and cohabitants, feeling alone and anger all contribute to a decreased mental health in Italian physicians (R (2) = 0.285, p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Italian HCWs' mental health and emotional reaction have to be considered to prevent high risk of burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It becomes pivotal in the next months to implement a tailored psychological intervention to take care of HCWs and to prevent costly consequences for them, patients, and the healthcare system.
- emotional reaction
- health care workers
- health care workers wellbeing