Exploring stress coping strategies of frontline emergency health workers dealing Covid-19 in Pakistan: A qualitative inquiry

Khadeeja Munawar, Fahad Riaz Choudhry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The COVID-19 outbreak has gravely impacted the physical and psychological health of people. As the outbreak is ongoing, it is crucial to equip the emergency healthcare workers (HCWs) to be medically and psychologically prepared. Objective: To examine the psychological impact of COVID-19 on emergency HCWs and to understand how they are dealing with COVID-19 pandemic, their stress coping strategies or protective factors, and challenges while dealing with COVID-19 patients. Methods: Using a framework thematic analysis approach, 15 frontline emergency HCWs directly dealing with COVID-19 patients from April 2, 2020 to April 25, 2020. The semi-structured interviews were conducted face-to-face or by telephone. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Findings highlighted first major theme of stress coping, including, limiting media exposure, limited sharing of Covid-19 duty details, religious coping, just another emergency approach, altruism, and second major theme of Challenges includes, psychological response and noncompliance of public/denial by religious scholar. Conclusions: Participants practiced and recommended various coping strategies to deal with stress and anxiety emerging from COVID-19 pandemic. Media was reported to be a principal source of raising stress and anxiety among the public. Religious coping as well as their passion to serve humanity and country were the commonly employed coping strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-292
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Coronavirus disease 2019
  • Epidemic outbreak
  • Frontline health workers
  • Qualitative study

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