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Relationship between Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms and Anxiety Levels during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Healthcare Professionals vs. Non-Healthcare Professionals

Faruk Kurhan1,*, Gülsüm Zuhal Kamış2, Emine Füsun Akyüz Çim3, Abdullah Atli4, Dilem Dinc5

1 Department of Psychiatry Faculty of Medicine, Yuzuncu Yil University, Van, Turkey
2 Department of Psychiatry, Bilkent City Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
3 Department of Psychiatry, Florence Nightingale Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey
4 Department of Psychiatry, Medical School of Dicle University, Diyarbakir, Turkey
5 Department of Psychology, Kahramanmaras Istiklal University, Kahramanmaras, Turkey

* Corresponding Author: Faruk Kurhan. Email:

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2022, 24(3), 399-413.


The present study investigated the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on anxiety levels, contamination and responsibility/control obsessions and associated OC behaviors in healthcare versus non-healthcare professionals. The study also aimed to examine the relationship between anxiety levels and obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptom levels, gender, age, educational level, and personal and family history of chronic diseases. The 664 participants included 395 (59.5%) men and 269 (40.5%) women and comprised 180 (27.1%) healthcare professionals and 484 (72.9%) non-healthcare professionals. The survey included three data collection tools: (i) Sociodemographic data form, (ii) Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and (iii) the Dimensional Obsessive-Compulsive Scale Abriged (DOCS-A) pre- and post-pandemic forms. The BAI scores established a moderate positive correlation with post-pandemic DOCS-A total scores and a weak positive correlation with pre-pandemic DOCS-A total scores (p < 0.001 for both). Pre- and post-pandemic DOCS-A total and subdimension scores were significantly higher in women than in men (p < 0.05). Participants with a personal history of chronic diseases had higher BAI and DOCS-A scores compared to participants with no such history (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). The results indicated a significant increase in OC symptoms during the pandemic period compared to the pre-pandemic period and a moderate correlation between the anxiety levels and OC symptom severity. It was also revealed that female gender and personal or family history of chronic diseases posed a higher risk for the increase in anxiety and OC symptoms and healthcare professionals had a higher risk of developing anxiety symptoms compared to non-healthcare professionals.


Cite This Article

Kurhan, F., Kamış, G. Z., Füsun, E., Atli, A., Dinc, D. (2022). Relationship between Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms and Anxiety Levels during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Healthcare Professionals vs. Non-Healthcare Professionals. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 24(3), 399–413.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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