Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Difference in stress-related indicators between employees experiencing partial and complete lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan

Anam Ali, MS, Sadia Abbas, MS, Ali Asad Khan, FCPS, Ali Salman Khan, MBBS, Hafiz Syed Mohsin Abbas, PhD


Objectives: The present study aimed to compare the stress experience of employees facing to differentiated types of lockdown situations: total vs. partial. It also aimed to identify the cognitive appraisal, coping, stress, and fear of contracting COVID-19 associated with lock down situations among employees.

Method: A cross-sectional research design was employed. The sample comprises two groups (n = 490 in each group), complete lockdown (people working from home) and partial lockdown (people going to workplace), and was drawn from Pakistan using purposive sampling technique. Stress Appraisal Measure, Brief COPE Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale, and Fear of Contracting COVID-19 Questionnaire were used to measure cognitive appraisal, coping, stress, and fear, respectively.

Results: Independent sample t-test showed that the threat and uncontrollable appraisal was high in people going to workplace as compared to people working from home. Results of binary logistic regression showed that people going to workplace were more likely to cope with COVID-19 situation through seeking instrumental support, behavior disengagement, acceptance, and religion as compared to people working from home. Moreover, people working from home were 0.84 times more likely to cope through emotional support than people going to workplace. Fear was found to be 1.1 times more likely associated with people going to workplace than people working from home.

Conclusion: This study would help administrative authorities and government institutions in designing mental health services for working population. It would help the emergency departments in devising first aid management plan to deal with the psychological needs of the workers under pandemic/lockdown situations.



cognitive appraisal, complete lockdown, coping, COVID-19 pandemic, fear, partial lockdown, stress

Full Text:



Van Damme W, Van Lerberghe W: Epidemics and fear. Trop Med Int Health. 2000; 5(8): 511-514. Available at Accessed July 12, 2020.

Cucinotta D, Vanelli M: WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic. Acta Biomed. 2020; 91(1): 157-160. DOI: 10.23750/abm.v91i1.9397.

Hoof EV: Lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment-and we will pay the price. The Daily Tribune. April 16, 2020. Available at Accessed July 12, 2020.

Hung LS: The SARS epidemic in Hong Kong: What lessons have we learned? J R Soc Med. 2003; 96(8): 374-378. DOI: 10.1177/014107680309600803.

Kniffin KM, Narayanan J, Anseel F, et al.: COVID-19 and the workplace: Implications, issues, and insights for future research and action. Am Psychologist. 2021; 76(1): 63-77.

Coronavirus: Punjab CM Buzdar announces 14-day lockdown across the most populous province of Pakistan. The Nation. March 23, 2020. Available at Accessed July 12, 2020.

Bhosale J: Lockdown puts rural economy under stress. The Economic Times. April 27, 2020. Available at Accessed July 12, 2020.

Ghosal S: Stress on industry due to Covid-19 to extend beyond Q1 of FY21, more firms willing to retain manpower: ASSOCHAM survey. The Economic Times. April 21, 2020. Available at Accessed July 13, 2020.

Panchal N, Kamal R, Orgera K, et al.: The implications of COVID-19 for mental health and substance use. Kaiser Family Foundation. August 21, 2020. Available at Accessed July 20, 2020.

Chen S, Jones PB, Underwood BR, et al.: The early impact of COVID-19 on mental health and community physical health services and their patients’ mortality in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, UK. J Psychiatr Res. 2020; 131: 244-254.

Zhang X: Thoughts on large-scale long-distance web-based teaching in colleges and universities under novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic. Adv Soc Sci Educ Hum Res. 2020; 416. DOI: 10.2991/assehr.k.200316.266.

Rogers C: ‘Worried, distracted, stressed’: Coronavirus crisis takes a personal toll on marketers. Xeim. 2020. Available at Accessed July 20, 2020.

Mukhtar S: Mental health and emotional impact of COVID-19: Applying health belief model for medical staff to general public of Pakistan. Brain Behav Immun. 2020; 87: 28-29. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.04.012.

Cai H, Tu B, Ma J, et al.: Psychological impact and coping strategies of frontline medical staff in Hunan between January and March 2020 during the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hubei, China. Med Sci Mon. 2020; 26: E924171. DOI: 10.12659/MSM.924171.

Ahmed A, Ramzan M: Effects of job stress on employees job performance a study on banking sector of Pakistan. IOSR-JBM. 2013; 11(6): 61-68. DOI: 10.9790/487X-1166168.

Khattak JK, Khan MA, Haq AU, et al.: Occupational stress and burnout in Pakistans banking sector. Afr J Bus Manag. 2011; 5(3): 810-817. DOI: 10.5897/AJBM10.395.

Lazarus RS: Progress on a cognitive-motivational-relational theory of emotion. Am Psychol. 1991; 46(8): 819-834.

Lazarus SR, Folkman S (ed.): Stress Appraisal and Coping. New York: Library of Congress, 1984.

McCauley M, Minsky S, Viswanath K: The H1N1 pandemic: Media frames, stigmatization and coping. BMC Public Health. 2013; 13(1): 1116. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-1116.

Skinner EA, Zimmer-Gembeck MJ: Parenting, family stress, developmental cascades, and the differential development of coping. In The Development of Coping. Cham: Springer, 2016: 239-261. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-41740-0_12.

Dubow EF, Rubinlicht M: Coping. In Brown BB, Prinstein M, Compas B (eds.): Encyclopedia of Adolescence, vol. 3. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2011.

AlHumaid J, Ali S, Farooq I: The psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and coping with them in Saudi Arabia. Psychol Trauma. 2020; 12(5): 505-507. DOI: 10.1037/tra0000623.

Salman M, Asif N, Mustafa ZU, et al.: Psychological impact of COVID-19 on Pakistani University Students and how they are coping. medRxiv. 2020. DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.21.20108647.

Wolor CW, Dalimunthe S, Febrilia I, et al.: How to manage stress experienced by employees when working from home due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Int J Adv Sci Technol. 2020; 29(05): 8359-8364.

Azam O: Effective implementation of smart lockdown fails on very first day. The News. June, 19, 2020. Available at Accessed August 10, 2020.

Rana W, Mukhtar S, Mukhtar S: Mental health of medical workers in Pakistan during the pandemic COVID-19 outbreak. Asian J Psychiatr. 2020; 51(102080): 102080. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102080.

Peacock EJ, Wong PTP: The stress appraisal measure (SAM): A multidimensional approach to cognitive appraisal. Stress Med. 1990; 6: 227-236.

Durak M, Senol-Durak E: The development and psychometric properties of the Turkish version of the stress appraisal measure. Eur J Psychol Assess. 2013; 29(1): 64-71.

Carver CS: You want to measure coping but your protocol’s too long: Consider the brief COPE. Int J Behav Med. 1997; 4(1): 92-100. DOI: 10.1207/s15327558ijbm0401_6.

Carver CS, Scheier MF, Weintraub JK: Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1989; 56(2): 267-283. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.56.2.267.

Al-Dubai SAR, Al-Naggar RA, Alshagga MA, et al.: Stress and coping strategies of students in a medical faculty in Malaysia. Malays J Med Sci. 2011; 18(3): 57-64.

Cohen S, Kamarck T, Mermelstein R: A global measure of perceived stress. J Health Soc Behav. 1983; 24: 386-396.

Babore A, Lombardi L, Viceconti ML, et al.: Psychological effects of the COVID-2019 pandemic: Perceived stress and coping strategies among healthcare professionals. Psychiatry Res. 2020; 293: 113366. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113366.

Islam MD, Siddika A: COVID-19 and Bangladesh: A study of the public perception on the measures taken by the government. 2020. Available at Accessed October 30, 2020.

Folkman S: Revised coping theory and the process of bereavement. In Stroebe M, Hansson R, Stroebe W (eds.): Handbook of Bereavement Research: Consequences, Coping, and Care. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001: 563-584.

World Health Organization: Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak. 2020. Available at Accessed November 10, 2020.

Bentzen JS: In crisis, we pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Covid Economics 20, CEPR. 2020. Available at Accessed November 10, 2020.

Scheff SW, Ginsberg SD, Counts SE, et al.: Synaptic integrity in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. In Sun M-K (ed.): Research Progress in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2012: 23-49.

Verma S, Mishra A: Depression, anxiety, and stress and socio-demographic correlates among general Indian public during COVID-19. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2020; 66(8): 756-762. DOI: 10.1177/0020764020934508.

Zheng W: Mental health and a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China. J Affect Disord. 2020; 269: 201-202. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.03.041.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Journal of Emergency Management