The Impact of the Stigma of Mental Illness among the Physicians on the Psychological Well-Being of COVID-19 Patients in the Isolation Rooms - Abstract
Objective: Several studies have demonstrated the stigma against patients with infectious diseases. Our aim is to investigate the existence of a relationship between doctors’ stigma against mental illness, and the extent to which this causes depression among their patients with COVID-19 in the isolation rooms. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at the King Abdullah Medical City (KAMC) from the 1st of Jun 2020 till November 2020. PHQ-9 scale was done on 37 patients in the isolation rooms due to COVID-19 for 7 days or more. For every patient, we interviewed their 3 most responsible physicians from the primary team including the consultant. 67 physicians were recruited in this study. The physicians answered the socio-demographic questionnaire as well as the Mental Illness Clinicians’ Attitude 4th version (MICA 4). Results: Our results showed that patients who were in severe depression and moderately severe depression (mean of PHQ-9 was 21 points) had been under the supervision of three doctors with the highest mean MICA score (48.88 points). This relation happened when we correlate the patient with all of his/her 3 physicians. The p-value was significant (.000) for moderate depression if the correlation was done with all the three physicians, or two physicians, or only one physician for any patient. Conclusion: The high results of MICA-4 of the responsible physicians have a relatively direct correlation with the high results of PHQ-9 of their COVID-19 patients in the isolation. Other studies with a bigger sample size could help to confirm this correlation.