Psychologists' health, sleep, and behaviour in the COVID-19 turmoil

João Peixoto, Maria Augusta Machado, Teresa Paiva, Rute Sousa, Cátia Branquinho, Fábio Guedes, Gina Tomé, Tânia Gaspar, Margarida Gaspar Matos


Background: The infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) emerged in China in 2019. Studies carried out during the pandemic period demonstrated an association between this pandemic context and psychological suffering. Psychologists, as health professionals, came to play a leading role in this period.

Goals: This study aimed to evaluate the psychologist’s health status, behaviors, attitudes, and habits during the pandemic.

Methods: This study included 1100 subjects, with two different samples: general population and psychologists. The sample was obtained through a non-probabilistic sampling process (online data collection). Survey Legend® online platform was used for this purpose. The data collection happened during the first wave of COVID-19, in Portugal. Two types of analytical design were used: an inter-subject design (Mann-Whitney U Test and Chi-Square Test [χ2] were performed), and an intra-subject design (Sign test and the Wilcoxon test were applied).

Results: Of the 1100 participants, 128 (11.6%) belong to the group of psychologists, aged between 24 and 82 years (mean age 45.4 ± 11.85). Subjects self-reported several changes occurring between the before-pandemic period and the first wave of the pandemic, revealing a significant increase in the use of television, social networks, cell phones, and games. It was also found a self-perceived overall deterioration in sleep quality, a reduction in smoking, and an increase in alcohol consumption.

Discussion: The findings of this study support the need for the adoption of measures, and the development of specific health promotion intervention plans targeted to this professional group, in similar situations in the future.


Portugal, Pandemic, Mental health, Survey

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