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Psychol Health Med ; : 1-14, 2022 Jan 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2234870


The psychological impact of COVID-19 on Health Care Workers (HCWs) has been widely reported. Few studies have sought to examine HCWs personal models of COVID-19 utilising an established theoretical framework. We undertook a mixed methods study of beliefs about COVID-19 held by HCWs in the Mid-West and South of Ireland during the first and third waves of COVID-19. Template analysis was undertaken on the free text responses of 408 HCWs about their perceptions of the Cause of COVID-19 as assessed by the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (B-IPQ). Responses were re-examined in the same cohort for stability at 3 months follow-up (n = 100). This analytic template was subsequently examined in a new cohort (n = 253) of HCWs in the third wave. Female HCWs perceived greater emotional impact of COVID-19 than men (t = -4.31, df405, p < 0.01). Differences between occupational groups were evident in relation to Timeline (F4,401 = 3.47, p < 0.01), Treatment Control (F4,401 = 5.64, p < 0.001) and Concerns about COVID-19 (F4,401 = 3.68, p < 0.01). Administration staff believed that treatment would be significantly more helpful and that COVID-19 would last a shorter amount of time than medical/nursing staff and HSCP. However, administration staff were significantly more concerned than HSCP about COVID-19. Template analysis on 1059 responses to the Cause items of the B-IPQ identified ten higher order categories of perceived Cause of COVID-19. The top two Causes identified at both Waves were 'individual behavioural factors' and 'overseas travel'. This study has progressed our understanding of the models HCWs hold about COVID-19 over time, and has highlighted the utility of the template analysis approach in analysing free-text questionnaire data. We suggest that group and individual occupational identities of HCWs may be of importance in shaping HCWs responses to working through COVID-19.