Changes in mental well-being of adult Poles in the early period of the COVID-19 pandemic with reference to their occupational activity and remote work
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University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland (Department of Biomedical Foundations of Development and Sexology, Faculty of Education)
University of Zielona Gora, Zielona Góra, Poland (Department of Humanization in Medicine and Sexology, Collegium Medicum)
Zbigniew Waldemar Izdebski   

University of Warsaw, Department of Biomedical Foundations of Development and Sexology, Faculty of Education, Mokotowska 16/20, 00-561 Warsaw, Poland
Online publication date: 2021-03-17
Objectives: The present study focused on the relationship between occupational activity and mental health during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Material and Methods: At the turn of May and June 2020, an online survey was conducted on a representative sample of 3000 Poles (age: Me = 45 years). Working persons accounted for 52% of the respondents, while 38.1% were hired workers. Two standardized (0–100 pts) indices were defined. The level of mental health symptoms index (LMHSI) concerned the incidence of 4 problems within the past 2 months, whereas the change in mental health symptoms index (CMHSI) concerned the degree of mental health deterioration. Results: The mean value of LMHSI was 40.91 (SD = 26.97), and that of CMHSI 60.51 (SD = 23.97). In both cases, a worse assessment was obtained among women than among men. In the group of working respondents, the least advantageous results were found among those who worked casually or under a commission contract. Among the non-employed respondents, jobless persons and students were the group at risk. Remote work resulted in the deterioration of mental health in the light of CMHSI; however, a threat of changes in the professional situation affected LMHSI variability to the greatest extent The results of linear regression (R2 = 0.339) suggest that the increase in the CMHSI score (adjusted for LMHSI) is independently influenced by female sex, university education, remote work and a threat of the worsening of employment terms. The analysis of the interaction effect showed a stronger impact of the last factor in the group of women (p = 0.001). Conclusions: To conclude, COVID-19 restrictions were associated with a negative impact on mental health which should be analyzed in the occupational context.