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Eur J Gen Pract ; 27(1): 176-183, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1328901


BACKGROUND: After the 'first wave' in spring 2020, opinions regarding the threat and measures against COVID-19 seemed to vary among German general practitioners (GPs). OBJECTIVES: To systematically investigate opinions and to identify subgroups of GPs sharing similar views. METHODS: A questionnaire was sent to all 210 practices accredited for undergraduate teaching of family medicine at the Medical Faculty of the Technical University of Munich. Questions addressed personal opinions regarding risks, dilemmas, restrictions and their relaxation associated with COVID-19, and personal fears, symptoms of depression and anxiety. Patterns of strong opinions ('archetypes') were identified using archetypal analysis, a statistical method seeking extremal points in the multidimensional data. RESULTS: One hundred and sixty-one GPs sent back a questionnaire (response rate 77%); 143 (68%) with complete data for all 38 relevant variables could be included in the analysis. We identified four archetypes with subgroups of GPs tending in the direction of these archetypes: a small group of 'Sceptics' (n = 12/8%) considering threats of COVID-19 as overrated and measures taken as exaggerated; 'Hardliners' (n = 34/24%) considering threats high and supporting strong measures; 'Balancers' (n = 77/54%) who also rated the threats high but were more critical about potentially impairing the quality of life of elderly people and children; and 'Anxious' GPs (n = 20/14%) tending to report more fear, depressive and anxiety symptoms. CONCLUSION: Among the participants in this survey, opinions regarding the threat and the measures taken against COVID-19 during the 'first wave' in Germany in spring 2020 varied greatly.

Attitude of Health Personnel , COVID-19 , Communicable Disease Control , General Practitioners , Public Policy , Adult , Anxiety/psychology , Depression/psychology , Fear , Female , General Practitioners/psychology , Germany , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2