The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of Filipino migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong
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The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
College of Medicine, University of Philippines, Philippines
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1396
Background and Objectives: During covid-19, Filipino migrant domestic workers’ lifestyles were greatly restricted, largely at the discretion of their employers. As these workers usually lived with their employers, they were asked to remain at home 7 days a week and cut off from their social network and other support systems. This study aims to explore the impacts of covid-19 on their mental health. Methods: A territory-wide online survey was distributed to 205 Filipino migrant domestic workers in 2022. Participant’s experience and perception of covid-19 were used as the main independent variables. General anxiety disorder-7 (gad-7) and patient health questionnaire-9 (phq-9) were used to assess the participant’s anxiety and depression symptoms, respectively. A higher score in both the gad-7 and phq-9 meant worse mental health outcomes. General linear models were performed separately after adjusting for socio-demographic factors. Results: Out of the 205 participants, 32 (15.6%) showed moderate to severe anxiety while 31 (15.1%) showed moderate to severe depressive symptoms. Support from friends in Hong Kong was associated with higher gad-7 (β 1.821; ci 0.363, 3.279) and phq-9 (β 1.833; ci 0.528, 3.138) scores. Support from employers (β -1.925; ci -3.362, -0.488) and from families in the Philippines (β -1.886; ci -3.334, -0.438) were associated with lower gad-7 scores. Support from family in the Philippines (β -2.389; ci -3.686, -1.093) was associated with lower phq-9 scores. Conclusions: There have been relatively high rates of anxiety and depressive symptoms amongst Filipino migrant domestic workers during the pandemic. Their support systems play an influential role in mental health outcomes. The changing nature of these support systems compared to pre-pandemic may affect the way mental health is impacted. Future studies can investigate how these support systems have changed over the pandemic.