Subjective wellbeing of Italian healthcare professionals during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak: A quasi-experiment


  • Matteo Makowiecki Italian Society for Health Promotion Italian: Società Italiana per la Promozione della Salute
  • Valentina Ungaretti
  • Marta Arzilli University of Pisa
  • Leonardo Urbani University of Pisa
  • Matteo Cecchi University of Pisa
  • Michela Maielli North-West Tuscany Local Health Authority
  • Sergio Ardis University of Pisa, North-West Tuscany Local Health Authority, National Board of the Italian Society for Health Promotion (SIPS)


Healthcare workers, subjective wellbeing, job satisfaction, SARS-CoV-2


Italy was one of the strongest hit countries from the SARS-CoV-2 and the healthcare system was put under exceptional stress during the outbreak. The lockdown imposed on the population put the economy on hold and opened the way for a crisis that would have an impact on the healthcare system and the economy of the country. This study compares levels of subjective wellbeing among healthcare professionals before the outbreak and during the most critical moment of the lockdown, when Italy was the first country in the world by number of infections. Subjective wellbeing was measured with emotional wellbeing, job satisfaction, global happiness and satisfaction with life. Each measure was compared before and during the outbreak as well as among different subgroups of respondents. A special attention was put on inequalities in professional level, gender and educational level as well as their effect on subjective wellbeing. The study finds that while emotional wellbeing had a slight decrease, other measures were untouched and job satisfaction even increased during the lockdown period. Present wellbeing differences based in inequalities in professional and educational level were lifted once professionals were fighting the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. This decrease in inequalities and increase in job satisfaction might be strongly related to a newfound trust in healthcare professionals, a high gratitude from the population and a feeling of accomplishment and meaning as described in the PERMA model. The findings of this study should help healthcare organizations to keep inequalities low as well as other organizations to apply those learnings in their structure.


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