BackgroundLimited access to SARS-CoV-2 testing has been identified as a potential source of anxiety among healthcare workers (HCWs), but the impact of repeated testing on pandemic-related anxiety in pediatric HCWs has not been examined. We sought to understand the impact of repeated SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing on pediatric HCWs' COVID-19 anxiety.
MethodsThis longitudinal cohort study was conducted between April and July 2020. Participants, 362 pediatric HCWs, underwent rapid SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing either every 96 h or weekly and were asked to rate their COVID-19 anxiety on a visual analog scale. Changes in self-reported anxiety from the study baseline were calculated for each testing day response. Bivariate analyses, repeated measures, and logistic regression analyses were performed to examine demographics associated with changes in anxiety.
ResultsBaseline COVID-19 anxiety was significantly higher in HCWs with less than 10 years of experience (Z = -2.63, p = 0.009), in females compared to males (Z = -3.66 p < 0.001), and in nurses compared to other HCWs (F (3,302) = 6.04, p = 0.003). After excluding participants who received a positive test result, repeated measures analyses indicated that anxiety decreased over time (F (5,835) = 3.14, p = 0.008). Of the HCWs who reported decreased anxiety, 57 (29.8%) had a clinically meaningful decrease (≥30%) and Emergency Department (ED) HCWs were 1.97 times more likely to report a clinically meaningful decrease in anxiety (X2 (1) = 5.05, p = 0.025).
ConclusionsThe results suggest that repeated SARS-CoV-2 antibody serology testing is associated with decreased COVID-19 anxiety in HCWs. Routine screening for the disease may be a helpful strategy in attenuating pandemic-related anxiety in pediatric HCWs.