Association of COVID 19 related factors and psychological factors with psychological distress among dental health care workers in government dental tertiary care centers, Kerala

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Original Article

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Suchitra Ambika, Shahana C Mohammed, Santhosh Kumar S, Shibu Godfrey Pereira, Anoop S, Ajith Kumar K C

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Abstract :

Introduction: COVID-19 pandemic created a huge psychological impact on the dental profession. The risk of transmission is high. This fact increased the fear and anxiety of dental health care workers. Aim: To determine the association of COVID-19 related fear and other psychological factors with psychological distress among dental health care workers in Government Dental colleges in Kerala. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among dental health care workers to determine the psychological distress using Kesler’s K-6 distress scale. COVID-19 related fear, and psychological factors such as subjective overload (demand scale-short version), and self-efficacy (general self-efficacy scale) were also assessed. Binary logistic regression was used to analyze the main determinants of psychological distress. Results: Specific psychological distress (SPD) was estimated to be 53.9% [95% CI [59.3-48.3]]. Specific psychological distress was found more among females (79.2%), having BDS qualification (61.5%), house surgeons and junior residents (64.1%), and dental hygienists (25.4%). The main determinants of SPD were poor self-efficacy (AOR-2.985), physical health problems in the last 30 days (AOR-3.136), anxiety about COVID treatment costs (AOR- 2.598), and fear of transmitting the infection to family members (AOR-2.118). Conclusion: It is highly essential to provide adequate psychological support mechanisms that facilitate the early detection of psychological distress among all dental health care workers in Kerala. Interventions to enhance self-efficacy such as skills acquisition programmes should be made mandatory for all dental health care workers. Further studies need to be conducted to assess the long-term psychological impact of the pandemic on dentistry.

Keyword :

Psychological distress, COVID­19, Dental healthcare workers, Self­efficacy, Kerala
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