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In the frontline of the pandemic stand healthcare workers and public service providers, occupations which have proven to be associated with increased mental health problems during pandemic crises. This cross-sectional, survey-based study collected data from 1773 healthcare workers and public service providers throughout Norway between March 31, 2020 and April 7, 2020, which encompasses a timeframe where all non-pharmacological interventions (NPIs) were held constant. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression were assessed by the Norwegian version of the PTSD checklist (PCL-5), General Anxiety Disorder -7, and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), respectively. Health anxiety and specific predictors were assessed with specific items. Multiple regression analysis was used for predictor analysis. A total of 28.9% of the sample had clinical or subclinical symptoms of PTSD, and 21.2% and 20.5% were above the established cut-offs for anxiety and depression. Those working directly in contrast to indirectly with COVID-19 patients had significantly higher PTSD symptoms. Worries about job and economy, negative metacognitions, burnout, health anxiety and emotional support were significantly associated with PTSD symptoms, after controlling for demographic variables and psychological symptoms. Health workers and public service providers are experiencing high levels of PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health workers working directly with COVID-19 patients have significantly higher levels of PTSD symptoms and depression compared to those working indirectly. Appropriate action to monitor and reduce PTSD, anxiety, and depression among these groups of individuals working in the frontline of pandemic with crucial societal roles should be taken immediately.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adolescent, Adult, Anxiety, Betacoronavirus, Burnout, Professional, COVID-19, Coronavirus Infections, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression, Female, Health Personnel, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Norway, Pandemics, Patient Health Questionnaire, Pneumonia, Viral, SARS-CoV-2, Social Workers, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Young Adult