Villanova launches 20-year study examining long-term effects of stress on essential workers

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Villanova University’s College of Nursing kicks off a national study Tuesday to track the effects of stress on front-line workers for the next 20 years.

The launch of the CHAMPS study, which loosely stands for Caring about Health for All, coincides with the 200th anniversary of Florence NIghtingale, the mother of modern nursing.

Connelly Endowed Dean Donna Havens said the study will look at how stress affects all front-line personnel working amid the coronavirus pandemic — not just medical professionals, but environmental cleaners, cafeteria workers, housekeeping staff and many more. 

They all have one thing in common: They are at an increased risk of exposure to the virus, as well as disruption of their personal and social lives, read a press release for the study. 

“This has been long-term stress. These groups have been known to suffer higher degrees of burnout and depression than other occupational groups, even before COVID-19,” she said.

Peter Kaufman, associate dean of research and innovation and the principal investigator for the study, said the long-term exposure to not only COVID-19, but the stress of dealing with it over months, will be explored further.

“What you're talking about here is a national effect over an extended period of time — probably more months into the future — where a broad range of people are consistently exposed over a long period of time to stress,” he explained. “We think that that is an unusual circumstance, and we need to study it so that we would understand how severe the symptoms are, how persistent they will be, and ultimately, how to provide treatment for those that need it.”

The study will begin with alumnae of the College of Nursing, and will then be disseminated to other workers through social media and other outlets.