Research Alert

Newswise — Physicians have played a vital role in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. But many of them suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A new study uses machine learning to quantitatively examine how personal factors affect the risk of PTSD among frontline and second-line physicians.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo used a web-based survey to capture information on the mental health outcomes of practicing physicians in the U.S., their occupational characteristics, COVID-19-specific experiences, workplace conditions and demographics. They then developed an algorithm to quantify the impacts of key factors associated with a higher risk of developing PTSD symptoms.

The results showed that frontline physicians demonstrate a higher risk of PTSD than second-line physicians, and that cognitive/psychological variables such as depression, burnout, and fear are the dominant factors contributing to PTSD risk.

“Identifying key intervention variables can help stakeholders develop intervention strategies to proactively support healthcare workers who are at higher risk of developing PTSD,” says Zhiyuan Wei of the University of Buffalo.

Wei will present, "Investigating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among US physicians during COVID-19: a data-centric approach based on survey data" on Dec. 8 at 4:40PM EST.