The Cost of Caring: Psychological Adjustment of Health-Care Volunteers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tara Powell, Shanondora Billiot, Jenna Muller, Kristen Elzey, Amanda Brandon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Health-care volunteers (HCVs) have been vital to the COVID-19 pandemic response efforts, working to deliver medical and psychological aid to vulnerable patient populations. Intense demands placed on HCVs during previous disasters have been associated with increased risk of psychological distress. Recent COVID-19 studies highlight risks to psychological well-being among health-care workers such as prolonged exposure, long shift hours, shortages of personal protective equipment, treating fellow health-care workers, and distancing from family members. In this study, we conducted surveys (N = 57) among HCVs at a field hospital in New York City during the spring of 2020. Results of multiple regression analyses indicated working more than 70 hr per week and avoidant emotional coping were associated with greater psychological distress, whereas social support and adaptive coping were associated with fewer symptoms. This study is unique in that few, if any, studies examine the role of volunteer health-care providers deployed to field hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study demonstrates the need for services and interventions to reduce psychological distress among HCVs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • Burnout
  • Coping
  • Covid-19 pandemic
  • Health-care volunteers
  • Secondary traumatic stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'The Cost of Caring: Psychological Adjustment of Health-Care Volunteers During the COVID-19 Pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this