Stress and allostatic load in medical and nonmedical workers post-COVID-19 epidemic
Long-term exposure to COVID-19 has been considered a life-threatening stressor. It has been associated with a variety of psychosocial problems and mental symptoms in medical workers, especially frontline doctors and nurses. Over time, persistent distress leads to changes in the psychosocial stress response and to detrimental health consequences.
The study evaluated allostatic load, stress, abnormal illness behavior, global well-being, mental status, and social supportin 3,590 Chinese workers through an online survey.
Results showed no significant differences in allostatic load in medical workers compared to nonmedical workers. Multivariate analyses showed that anxiety, depression, somatization, hostility, and abnormal illness behavior were positively associated with allostatic load, while objective support, subjective support, utilization of support, social support, and global well-being emerged as protective factors.
These findings illustate that in the post-COVID-19 epidemic time, medical and nonmedical workers did not differ in levels of allostatic load. In addition, while psychological distress and abnormal illness behavior emerged as risk factors for allostatic load, social support emerged as a possible protective factor.