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Title: Fear of COVID-19 and workplace phobia among Pakistani doctors : a survey study
Authors: Malik, S
Ullah, I
Irfan, M
Ahorsu, DK 
Lin, CY
Pakpour, AH
Griffiths, MD
Rehman, IU
Minhas, R
Issue Date: 2021
Source: BMC public health, 2021, v. 21, 833
Abstract: Background: The novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has seriously affected the lives of millions of people across the world. It has also heavily burdened healthcare professionals and the virus poses serious risks for their personal and professional lives. Therefore, the present study examined the associations between fear of COVID-19 and workplace phobia among doctors in Pakistan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: An online survey was conducted among 421 doctors in Pakistan between April 10 and May 25, 2020. The Workplace Phobia Scale (WPS) and the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) were the main psychometric instruments used in this study.
Results: There was a significant positive relationship between fear of COVID-19 and workplace panic anxiety and workplace avoidance behavior. Significantly higher fear of COVID-19 was found among (i) females compared to males, (ii) doctors with 5 years or less of work experience compared to those with more than 5 years, and (iii) postgraduate trainees compared with other ranks. Two groups (doctors who were above 30 years old and postgraduate trainees) were found to have higher levels of workplace phobia compared to their counterparts. Doctors with severe levels of fear of COVID-19 had significantly higher levels of workplace panic anxiety and workplace avoidance behavior.
Conclusions: Fear of COVID-19 was significantly associated with workplace phobia which may negatively affect doctors’ performance. Therefore, important steps are needed to protect doctors’ health by providing sufficient resources to allay their fears and anxieties which consequently help them in carrying out their frontline duties in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: Avoidance behavior
Fear of COVID-19
Workplace panic anxiety
Workplace phobia
Publisher: BioMed Central
Journal: BMC public health 
EISSN: 1471-2458
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-021-10873-y
Rights: © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
The following publication Malik, S., Ullah, I., Irfan, M. et al. Fear of COVID-19 and workplace phobia among Pakistani doctors: A survey study. BMC Public Health 21, 833 (2021) is available at
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