What are the mental health impacts of epidemics on relatives of people affected, and relatives of healthcare workers: What interventions are available to support them? A systematic review and narrative synthesis

Sarah V. Gentry, Molly Thomas-Meyer, Carina S.B. Tyrrell, Angelique Mavrodaris, Richard Williams, Sonya Wallbank, Prathiba Chitsabesan, Neil Greenberg, Aliko Ahmed, Anees Ahmed Abdul Pari*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    5 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Background: Previous research has mainly focused on the impacts of epidemics on those people who are directly affected by the epidemic infection, or of healthcare workers caring for them. Less is known about the impact on mental health of their relatives, and potential interventions to support them. 

    Methods: Systematic review and narrative synthesis. 

    Outcomes: 28 studies were identified, sixteen quantitative and twelve qualitative. One involved health workers' relatives, and the rest covered relatives of directly affected individuals. We found considerable burden of mental ill-health in both groups. Among relatives of healthcare workers, 29.4% reported symptoms consistent with probable anxiety disorder and 33.7% with probable depression. Prevalence rates for probable anxiety disorder ranged from 24-42% and probable depression 17–51% for the relatives of affected people. One study found a 2% prevalence of PTSD and another found odds of PTSS were significantly higher among relatives of affected individuals compared with the general population. Only two intervention studies were identified and both were descriptive in nature. 

    Interpretation: Available evidence suggests relatives of people affected by infective outbreaks report mental ill-health. Having a relative who died particularly increased risk. Good outcomes for relatives of affected individuals were promoted by practical and social support, public health guidance that recognises the caring role of relatives, and being supported to see the positives as well as negatives in their situation. Good outcomes for relatives of health workers were promoted by perceived effectiveness of protective equipment. High quality evidence on potential interventions to support relatives is lacking. 

    Funding: No external funding sought.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number152288
    Number of pages17
    JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
    Volume113
    Early online date24 Nov 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information: No funding information.

    Open Access: This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)

    Publisher Copyright: Crown Copyright © 2021 Published by Elsevier Inc.

    Citation: Sarah V. Gentry, Molly Thomas-Meyer, Carina S.B. Tyrrell, Angelique Mavrodaris, Richard Williams, Sonya Wallbank, Prathiba Chitsabesan, Neil Greenberg, Aliko Ahmed, Anees Ahmed Abdul Pari, What are the mental health impacts of epidemics on relatives of people affected, and relatives of healthcare workers: What interventions are available to support them? A systematic review and narrative synthesis, Comprehensive Psychiatry, Volume 113, 2022, 152288,
    ISSN 0010-440X.

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2021.152288.

    Keywords

    • COVID-19
    • Impact
    • Infectious disease epidemics
    • Mental health
    • Relatives of healthcare workers
    • MOTHERS
    • DEPRESSION
    • ANXIETY
    • SYMPTOMS
    • NEWBORNS
    • POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS
    • EBOLA OUTBREAK
    • CHILDREN
    • QUALITY-OF-LIFE

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'What are the mental health impacts of epidemics on relatives of people affected, and relatives of healthcare workers: What interventions are available to support them? A systematic review and narrative synthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this