The mental health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic are magnified for medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses. Researchers have analyzed the language used by healthcare workers on Reddit to track their psychological distress and coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study analyzed over 67 million words written by 5,409 healthcare workers, including nurses and physicians. The results indicate that medical professionals coped with the chronic stress by adopting a more socially detached perspective, evidenced by their use of fewer first-person singular pronouns and less empathic and affiliative language. However, emotional language increased over time, including more references to disgust and positive emotions.
The study sheds light on the psychological challenges faced by healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the importance of identifying markers of distress in their language use. The results suggest that healthcare workers coped with the stress of the pandemic by distancing themselves emotionally while still expressing emotions. This research could be useful for developing interventions that help medical professionals cope with stress and avoid burnout.