Original Article

Mental Health Difficulties of Turkish Healthcare Workers and Non-Healthcare Workers and Their Young Children During Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic


Department Child and Adolescent, Şişli Research and Training Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey


Department Child and Adolescent , Haseki Research and Training Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey


Department Child and Community Wellbeing Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (QCPIMH), Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CHQ, HHS), Brisbane, Australia

Alpha Psychiatry 2023; 24: 153-160
DOI: 10.5152/alphapsychiatry.2023.221056
Read: 812 Downloads: 300 Published: 05 September 2023

Background: Young children and their caregivers have faced an increased risk of developing mental health difficulties during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. However, very little is still known about the mental health of children younger than 6 years. Existing research suggests that families with caregiver/s who are healthcare workers may be at increased risk. The primary purpose of the paper is to report on the mental health difficulties experienced by young children and their caregivers in Turkey and to investigate if mental health outcomes are worse for young children and caregivers who are healthcare workers in comparison to non-healthcare workers during the first year of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Methods: An online survey was completed by 158 caregivers of children aged 1-5 years during December 2020 in Turkey. Caregivers reported on pandemic related experiences, child and parent mental health.

Results: Up to 30% of caregivers reported their child was experiencing moderate to severe anxiety, depressive symptoms, and sleep disturbances. Between 36.2% and 39.2% of caregivers reported moderate to extremely severe levels of depression, anxiety, and/ or stress symptoms. Multivariate analysis of covariance analyses found no significant differences between the healthcare worker and non-healthcare worker groups for child (F(4,131)=1.037, P > .05) or parent mental health outcomes (F(3,141)=0.712, P > .05).

Conclusion: Our study showed that one-third of children and their caregivers experienced mental health problems during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic unrelated to the caregiver’s occupation in the health sector. It is important that all families with young children have access to mental health support during disruptive events.

Cite this article as: Demirpençe Seçinti D, Albayrak ZS, Vasileva M, De Young AC. Mental health difficulties of Turkish healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers and their young children during COVID-19 pandemic. Alpha Psychiatry. 2023;24(4):153-160.

EISSN 2757-8038