The parental COVID-19 anxiety and emotional exhaustion in healthcare workers: exploring the roles of resilience, prosocialness, and optimism

Akdağ B., Ege D., GÖKSÜLÜK D., İpekten F., ERDOĞAN A., ÖNDER A.

Current Psychology, vol.42, no.23, pp.20042-20051, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 23
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12144-023-04414-6
  • Journal Name: Current Psychology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, BIOSIS, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.20042-20051
  • Keywords: Burnout, COVID-19, Healthcare workers, Parental anxiety, Prosocialness
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


Healthcare workers (HCWs) also became the main protagonist of the tragic pandemic story. They have had a markedly higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. Outside work, healthcare workers with children have experienced mental health challenges, including the worry that they may carry COVID-19 home and infect their children. Based on these, the current study aimed to examine the effect of parental COVID-19 anxiety on emotional exhaustion and identify the roles of resilience, prosocialness, and optimism in this relationship. The findings demonstrated that prosocialness moderated the relationship between personal COVID-19 anxiety and emotional exhaustion by alleviating the depleting effects of personal COVID-19 anxiety. At the same time, prosocialness reinforced the negative effect of resilience on emotional exhaustion. On the other side, optimism moderated the relationship between parental COVID-19 anxiety and resilience by alleviating the adverse effect of parental COVID-19 anxiety. Moreover, it buffered the exacerbating effect of parental anxiety on personal anxiety. In conclusion, promoting personal resources (i.e., resilience, prosocialness, and optimism) seems an excellent way to mitigate the adverse consequences of the pandemic on mental health. Furthermore, the increment in parental mental health problems during COVID-19 pandemic may have long-term effects on children. Considering this perspective, we need to develop a proactive approach for parents’ now and children’s futures.