Screening for Common Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse among Temporary Hired Cleaners in Egyptian Governmental Hospitals, Zagazig City, Sharqia Governorate

RA Abbas, RAM Hammam, SS El-Gohary, LME Sabik, MS Hunter


Background: Informal employment is common in developing countries, including Egypt. This type of employment may have significant consequences on mental health.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence and risk factors of common mental disorders and substance abuse among temporary hired hospital cleaners.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 242 adult temporary cleaners and 209 permanent cleaners working in 4 governmental hospitals in Zagazig City, Sharqia Governorate, Egypt. All participants were invited to complete a structured questionnaire through a semi-structured interview which included the self-reporting questionnaire 20 items (SRQ-20) and the work stress scale. Assessment of drug use included urine-based screening tests for common substances abused.

Results: The prevalence of job stress, common mental disorders and substance abuse, particularly tramadol and cannabis (Bango), was significantly higher in the studied temporary cleaners compared to permanent cleaners. Risk factors associated with increased susceptibility of the temporary cleaners to common mental disorders were family history of substance abuse, high crowding index, history of physical illness, low educational level, and smoking; while being unmarried, male sex, family history of mental disorder, age ≥40 years, smoking, and length of service ≥8 years, were associated with substance abuse among the same group.

Conclusion: Temporary hired hospital cleaners suffered from impaired mental health more than permanent cleaners. Therefore, expanding the coverage of current laws and occupational safety and health standards to cover workers in the informal sector especially in developing countries is recommended.


Employment; Substance-related disorders; Mental disorders; Mental health

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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