In this together: Psychological wellbeing of foreign workers in the United Arab Emirates during the COVID‐19 pandemic

Mariapaola Barbato, Justin Thomas
Published Online:
14 Jun 2021
Volume/Issue No:
Early View Articles

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The COVID‐19 pandemic and the associated infection prevention and control measures (e.g. quarantine, lockdown and isolation), have had an adverse impact on mental health. To date, the mental health status and challenges of foreign workers during the pandemic have been neglected in the literature. This cross‐sectional web‐based survey assessed levels of post‐traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia among an international sample of foreign workers (n = 319) resident in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The majority of participants were female (76%), European (69%) and highly educated (83% had a bachelor's or higher degree). Results indicate high rates of post‐traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia, especially among women, younger individuals, and those with a previous diagnosis of a psychological disorder. Additionally, foreign workers' perceptions of pandemic severity in their home nations (mild, moderate, severe) were positively correlated with their symptom levels of depression, anxiety and insomnia. Overall, these findings may help inform future public mental health strategy and pandemic preparedness plans with reference to safeguarding the psychological wellbeing of foreign workers.

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