PhD Scientific Days 2023

Budapest, 22-23 June 2023

Mental Health Sciences - Posters N

Posttraumatic Growth among Intensive Care Professionals during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Bernadett Bódi1,3, Petra Szvath1, Gábor Mátay2, Szabolcs Takács2, Csaba Hermann1, Ágnes Zana3
1: Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Therapy, Semmelweis University, Budapest
2: Department of General Psychology and Methodology, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Budapest
3: Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest

Text of the abstract

Posttraumatic growth describes positive psychological responses after traumatic and difficult life events. Healthcare workers, especially intensive care workers, experienced particularly high physical and psychological stress during the pandemic as a result of increased workload and high numbers of deaths. Previous research in intensive care settings suggested that work-related trauma may be a catalyst for posttraumatic growth.
Our objective was to investigate the relationship between posttraumatic growth and sociodemographic factors in a Hungarian tertiary-level intensive care unit designated for COVID care.
We applied the validated 21-item Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, and sociodemographic data were collected. The survey was performed between April and May 2021 in the Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Therapy at Semmelweis University, following the third peak of the pandemic.
A total of 61 individuals (73% women) completed the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (0-105; mean±SD: 50,34±21,64). The posttraumatic growth increased significantly among workers who had a different work position or competency during the pandemic (n=17) compared to workers with the same work position (p=0.010). Significantly higher scores were found among nurses compared to doctors (p=0,003). There were no significant differences between groups in sex, age, number of years working in the intensive care unit, or number of weekly work hours.
The escalation of the pandemic required reorganizations of the workforce within the intensive care units. Almost a third of our participants worked in new positions or changed competencies, and significantly higher post-traumatic growth was found among them. Our results suggest that occupational enrichment and job position could be contributing factors to posttraumatic growth. Of note, the responsibility of the permanent team was further increased as they were responsible for training new colleagues, identified as a source of distress. We find it important to investigate further the posttraumatic growth among intensive care workers. As previous studies suggest, it may be protective against the negative psychological consequences of traumatic events, and its effects may last for years.