Psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic among healthcare workers in Paraguay: A descriptive and preliminary study


  • Jorge Villalba-Arias National University of Asunción, Department of Psychiatry (Santa Rosa Campus), Santa Rosa del Aguaray, Paraguay
  • Gladys Estigarribia National University of Asunción, Department of Psychiatry (Santa Rosa Campus), Santa Rosa del Aguaray, Paraguay
  • José Andrés Bogado National University of Asunción, Department of Psychiatry (Santa Rosa Campus), Santa Rosa del Aguaray, Paraguay
  • Julieta Méndez National University of Asunción, Department of Psychiatry (Santa Rosa Campus), Santa Rosa del Aguaray, Paraguay
  • Santiago Toledo National University of Asunción, Department of Psychiatry (Santa Rosa Campus), Santa Rosa del Aguaray, Paraguay
  • Israel González National University of Asunción, Department of Psychiatry, San Lorenzo, Paraguay.
  • João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia Fundação do ABC, Medical School, Department of Neuroscience, Santo André, SP, Brazil
  • Antonio Ventriglio University of Foggia, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Foggia, Italy
  • Julio Torales National University of Asunción, Department of Psychiatry, San Lorenzo, Paraguay.


Palabras clave:

Healthcare workers; mental health; COVID-19; anxiety; depression; post-traumatic stress; psychological distress


Introduction: Healthcare workers exposed to SARS-CoV-2 are vulnerable to psychological distress. The goal of this study is to evaluate the psychological impact of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 among healthcare workers in Paraguay. Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out in 5 tertiary hospitals in the Central, San Pedro and Caaguazú Departments of Paraguay during the COVID-19 pandemic from April to June 2020. The pilot study included 125 healthcare workers as participants, 25 for each hospital. Demographic data and occupational exposure data were collected with an ad-hoc questionnaire. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were evaluated employing the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale-7. The prevalence of post-traumatic stress was determined using the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Check List-C. Results: Of the 125 participants, 68 (54.8%) were doctors, 37 (29.8) nurses, 7 (5.6%) biochemists, 3 (2.4%) obstetricians, and 9 (7.3%) other healthcare workers. Most participants were females (86 [68.8%]), with an average age of 33.8 years (SD ± 7.4), single (71 [56.8%]), with a postgraduate educational level (83 [66.4%]), and reporting a junior level of work experience (52 [41.6%]). A total of 71 (57.3%) were classified as high-risk healthcare workers after exposure to SARS-CoV-2. 61 (48.8%) of participants presented symptoms of depression, and 68 (54.4%) presented symptoms of anxiety. A small group reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress (9 [7.2%]). Conclusion: Healthcare workers in Paraguay reported a significant prevalence of depressive and anxious symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings lend support to the idea that healthcare workers are vulnerable to psychological distress and that they may require specific mental health interventions.


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