Hospital workers’ psychological resilience after the 2015 Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak

Heejung Son1, Wang Jun Lee2, Hyun Soo Kim3, Kkot Sil Lee4, Myoungsoon You5
1Department of Public Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
2Office of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Myongji Hospital, Republic of Korea
3Department of Psychiatry, Myongji Hospital, Republic of Korea
4Department of Infection, Myongji Hospital, Republic of Korea
5 Department of Public Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
Cite this article:  Son, H., Lee, W., Kim, H., Lee, K., & You, M. (2019). Hospital workers’ psychological resilience after the 2015 Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47, e7228.

Volume 47 Issue 2 | e7228 | Published: February 2019 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7228

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We assessed the psychological well-being and workplace functioning of hospital workers in South Korea after an infectious disease outbreak by focusing on the effects of risk appraisal, emotional experience, and coping ability. Participants were 280 hospital workers who experienced the 2015 Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak. We found that high risk appraisal decreased psychological resilience, whereas coping ability increased psychological resilience. Additionally, emotional disruption was associated with low resilience and also mediated the effect of perceived risk on psychological resilience. Results varied across occupational type (health-care workers vs. non-health-care workers), which implies that different considerations are needed for resilience-building among hospital workers responding to an outbreak. In particular, lowering perceived risk was most beneficial to health-care workers, whereas strengthening coping ability and relieving the intensity of negative emotions experienced were the most effective strategies for non-health-care workers. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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