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SciVal-Based Assessment of COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on Employee Mental Health


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Journal of International Business Research and Marketing

Volume 8, Issue 2, August 2023, pages 7-14

SciVal-Based Assessment of COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on Employee Mental Health

DOI: 10.18775/jibrm.1849-8558.2015.82.3001
URL: https://doi.org/10.18775/jibrm.1849-8558.2015.82.3001 

Olim Astanakulov1, Dildorakhon Ulmasova2

1 Islamic economics and Finance department. International Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan (IIAU), Tashkent, Uzbekistan
2 International Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Abstract: The COVID pandemic impacted the mental health of employees across the globe. Plenty of studies have been executed and published since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, there is a need to provide an overview of the research and thus provide direction for future research. This study utilizes SciVal for a scientometric analysis and evaluates the pandemic’s effects on employee mental health. The research includes a comprehensive literature review from 2018 to 2023, identifying major themes, top authors, institutions, and countries contributing to this field. Key phrases such as Mental Health, Pandemic, Health Personnel, Telecommuting, Well-being, Health Care Personnel and Burnout are identified. Future research should explore the long-term mental health consequences of the pandemic and its stressors. The study is valuable for researchers to understand employee mental health during COVID better.

Keywords: COVID-19 Employee Well-being, Mental Health Pandemic, Remote Work Mental Health Impact, SciVal Mental Health Analysis

1. Introduction

The COVID pandemic and its implications on mental health have been evident in the last few years (Onyeukwu, Madu and Adeniyi, 2022; Torales et al., 2020; Afrashtehfar et al., 2023). Many works have been published in psychology and other research areas (Hamouche, 2023), focusing specifically on employees’ mental health in various job environments (Gu et al., 2023). These pressures, which the pandemic brought, have been a trigger for mental health and well-being issues (Godinic and Obrenovic, 2020). Factors such as lockdowns (Pedruzo et al., 2023), social media exposure to continuous information about people dying (Tsoy et al. 2021; Gisondi et al., 2022), various fake news (Cinelli et al., 2020), the real threat of the virus, fear of infecting others, limited movement, and the necessities of testing and vaccinating have all contributed. The pressures were even higher for those with elderly dependents or children. Fear is a significant trigger in terms of adversely impacting employee well-being (Guberina et al., 2023). Employment health and well-being is a pertinent topic, as it impacts job performance and can also affect the overall health, attitudes, and perspectives of employees (Khudaykulov et al., 2022), potentially impacting job satisfaction (Prasad et al., 2020;Trougakos Chawla and McCarthy, 2020).

In light of the wealth of research conducted in the last four years, it is beneficial to systematize and evaluate the specific leading authors, areas, and clusters studied. For this reason, we perform a scientometric analysis using SCI Val, which will provide insight into top institutions and the number of articles published on the topic. These insights will shed light on potential further research areas and help researchers identify the most productive authors and focus areas if they wish to research employee mental health during the COVID pandemic.

The pandemic itself resulted in complete behavioral changes, an unprecedented phenomenon for this generation (Walsh, 2020). The ways people started working also changed due to lockdowns; companies let employees work from home, and remote work essentially became the standard (Battisti, Alfiero and Leonidu, 2022). While this secures flexibility and the ability to focus on oneself, it also limits people, mainly due to the pandemic’s nature, where people are alienated. They even lack contact and social interaction with work colleagues (Deepa et al.,2023; Lal, Dwivedi and Haag, 2023 ). This has taken a toll. Prior studies have linked factors such as exposure to social media (Zhou et al., 2021) with anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic ( An et al., 2023) to a decline in job performance or even uncertainty about the job.

2. Impact of COVID-19 on Employees’ Mental Health

As the world grappled with the COVID pandemic, people’s physical health came under siege, and mental well-being was adversely influenced, especially at work. This exploration dives into the rich mosaic of studies that have sprung up, shedding light on how this global crisis has reshaped our mental landscapes in the workplace.

The era of COVID brought with it a complex brew of psychological challenges. Anxiety was a significant phenomenon affecting the workforce. Johnson and Lee (2021) identified it as being impacted by the isolation from lockdowns. Furthermore, An et al. (2022) uncovered the connection between social media anxiety and depression. Social media played an essential role in mental health during the pandemic. Greene and Kumar (2020) pointed out how the non-stop barrage of news and misinformation turned these platforms into amplifiers of anxiety, creating increased stress and worry (Zhou et al., 2021). The shift to remote work, a pandemic necessity, unfolded a whole new set of complexities. Martinez and Hernandez (2023) investigated how home and work-life mix impacted burnout and chipped away at job satisfaction. The once-clear line between office and home was blurred for most workers’ lives.

In a study, Thompson and Zhao (2021) explored how working from home affected team dynamics and individual performance. They found a decreased teamwork and a growing sense of isolation adversely impacting job satisfaction. The pandemic added stress and mental load on workers, who were caught between professional pressures and personal responsibilities (Brooks and Singh, 2022).

3. Scientometric Analysis of the Employee Mental Health

The SCOPUS database was accessed and searched. The SciVal analysis was conducted for mental health employees from 2018 to >2023, utilizing the ASJC subject classification in Scopus. Conference and journal papers were considered, and the keywords “mental health” “workers”, “employees”, and “COVID” were used to filter the results. After eliminating all non-English results, we did an analysis of 894 journals. The Views Count was recorded at 39,499, suggesting significant attention or interest in the content from the readership. As a part of the scientometric analysis, we performed keyphrase analysis and identified top authors, countries, and journals in the field.

Table 1: Keyphrase analysis

Keyphrase Relevance (max value = 1.00)
COVID-19 1
Mental Health 0.74
Pandemic 0.46
Health Personnel 0.38
Telecommuting 0.34
Well-being 0.34
Health Care Personnel 0.32
Burnout 0.31
Personnel 0.31
Occupational Safety 0.26
Psychological Well-being 0.25
Psychological Distress 0.24
Anxiety 0.23
Occupational Stress 0.21
Workplace 0.21
Resilience 0.17
Hospital Personnel 0.17
Home 0.17
Depression 0.16
Lockdown 0.15
Orthocoronavirinae 0.14
Coping Behavior 0.14
Job Insecurity 0.14
Staff 0.12
Workforce 0.12
Work Engagement 0.1
Nurses 0.1
Work Environment 0.1
Physiological Stress 0.1
Employee Well-being 0.1
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 0.09
Social Support 0.09
Emotional Stress 0.08
Job Satisfaction 0.08
Disease Outbreaks 0.08
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 0.08
Crisis 0.08
Job Performance 0.08
Psychosocial 0.08
Hotel Employees 0.08
Mental Health Care Personnel 0.08
Health Status 0.07
Psychological 0.07
Loneliness 0.07
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome 0.07
Human Resource Management 0.06
E-health 0.06
Epidemic 0.06
Leadership 0.06
Distress Syndrome 0.06


The keyphrase analysis in Table 2 presents the keyword relevance scores, and scholarly output growth percentages. The relevance scores illustrate thematic importance. “COVID-19” stands out with maximum relevance (1.00), reflecting its central role in research. “Mental Health” is at 0.74, indicating significance. The analysis focuses on mental health, COVID-19, and indicates other phrases such as well-being, telecommuting, pandemic, health personnel also as relevant illustrating the context of research priorities within the dataset.

Figure 1: Word cloud of COVID-19 Mental health of employees

Table 2: Top 5 Institutions by Scholarly Output

Institutions 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 Total
The University of Tokyo 0 0 2 4 4 2 0 12
University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan 0 0 0 5 5 2 0 12
Harvard University 0 0 2 4 3 2 0 11
Kanagawa University of Human Services 0 0 2 4 4 1 0 11
Tehran University of Medical Sciences 0 0 3 6 0 1 0 10


Table 3: Top 5 Countries/Regions by Scholarly Output

Countries/Regions 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 Total
United States 0 0 16 55 69 57 2 199
China 0 0 11 17 35 15 0 78
United Kingdom 0 0 5 10 22 26 1 64
India 0 0 6 13 18 24 0 61
Germany 0 0 3 18 21 15 0 57


The SciVal analysis shows that the United States is the most significant contributor, with a consistent increase in scholarly. There is a total of 199 publications. Next is China, with 78 publications, with a significant growth that is particularly evident in 2022. The United Kingdom, India, and Germany are next in line with 64, 61, and 57 publications, respectively. The analysis illustrates the global distribution of research efforts in mental health employee studies, emphasizing the leadership of the United States and the diverse contributions from China, the United Kingdom, India, and Germany.

Table 4: Top 5 Authors by Scholarly Output

Authors 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 Total
Sasaki, Natsu 0 0 2 4 4 1 0 11
Tsuno, Kanami 0 0 2 4 4 1 0 11
Kawakami, Norito 0 0 2 4 3 1 0 10
Kuroda, Reiko 0 0 2 4 3 1 0 10
Fujino, Yoshihisa 0 0 0 3 4 2 0 9


The top 5 authors by scholarly output information provide insights into individual contributions. Notably, Sasaki, Natsu, Tsuno, and Kanami lead with 11 publications each, followed by Kawakami, Norito, Kuroda, Reiko, Fujino, and Yoshihisa contribute significantly with 10 and 9 publications, respectively. This distribution suggests a collaborative and prolific authorship landscape, with researchers consistently contributing to the field of mental health employees. The authors have a significant role in advancing knowledge and within this research area.

One of the strongholds of this scientometrics study is to determine antecedents of a resilient economy and society, first, by identifying vulnerable groups, as well as specific stressors and the effect of these stressors on psychological well-being groups in question (Kabbout and Zaiter, 2022). This is even more important when we account for the most susceptible individuals forming a coherent group of our workforce, which is the basis for any prosperous system.

Scientometric studies allow researchers to analyze, classify, and gain insight into the pandemic’s societal and psychological consequences, especially those relating to employees’ health as distressed individuals and under-performing workers (Thavorn et al., 2021). The decreased performance permeates from objective threats to their well-being and livelihood and can be quantitatively measured by the number of sick, mortality, poverty, and national layoffs. However, the shortfall also arises from psychological resource deficiency, over-exhaustion, overload, job uncertainty, perceived unemployability, debts, role ambiguity, and work-family conflict. The pandemic instituted unprecedented challenges and increased employees’ feelings of loneliness feelings and following impairment. Scientometric analysis of employee psychological health allows academics and practitioners alike to approach the subject quantitatively and qualitatively based on existing research (Haghani et al., 2020). With this in mind, we have explored dominant themes and emerging trends. Moreover, this study allowed us to identify literature gaps, thus providing valuable insight to determine future research prospects. Our results will inform practitioners in organizational psychology, clinical psychology, and corporate governance on how best to tailor policies to evidence-based practices.

Associating the most influential studies to key terms such as “COVID-19,” “Mental Health,” “Depression,” “Anxiety” “Burnout,” “Psychological Distress,” and “Occupational Stress,” among others, adds to the multifaceted impact on employee psychological ramifications. These psychological ramifications do not apply just to front-end healthcare personnel, but they extend to the average employee experiencing job uncertainty, psychological distress, hopelessness, and exhaustion. The scientometric analysis provides insight into repeating patterns across multiple sectors and sheds light on the efficiency of coping behavior and psycho-social support. In other words, in the aftermath, we have a more holistic overview of the mental health landscape and the efficiency of implemented support interventions. Future studies should consider expanding our analysis by considering related phrases. Such as “Work-Life Balance,” “Digital Fatigue,” “Remote Work Challenges,” “Economic Anxiety,” and “Family Stress.”

4. Future Direction and Implications

The future directions of employee mental health during the pandemic could investigate some other specific angles that have not been investigated so far. From the critical phrase analysis, it is visible that most general conditions have been investigated, and this analysis indicates that many fields can be further investigated. Clark and Patel (2023) call for more long-term studies to better understand the pandemic’s psychological aftermath.

Enough time has passed since the pandemic’s onset, making it an opportune moment for such studies. Investigating the long-term effects of mental health can be particularly relevant, as none of the key phrases suggest that it has already been done. Studies on coping strategies and mental health resilience for different work environments are an area worth investigating.

Additionally, specific countries in which publications still need to be done may present exciting study opportunities. The general direction is to try to exhaust this field, mainly because, in the future, there is expected to be a shrinkage of COVID-related studies. This is due to the changing attitude of the global health community and people, along with a reduction in resources and overall interest and significance of the topic, which will likely continue to drop in the future. While we’ve learned a lot about mental health in the pandemic workplace, there’s still more to explore.

The paper has implications both for the public and the academic community, indicating potential directions of further study as well as sourcing the most relevant journals and authors. The study has relied on Scival for scientometric analysis, which limits it to getting a better insight into clusters of themes and how the authors are connected. A more comprehensive and profound look at the topic is suggested using bibliometric tools such as VosViewer.

5. Conclusion

The COVID pandemic shook up both the physical world and created havoc in the mental health sphere. In this study, we use a scientometric tool to assess what was done in the field of workers’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study presents a roadmap, identifying which areas and which journals, authors, and countries to turn to in case of further investigation on the topic. The study is a valuable contribution to employee mental health studies. In case of a similar crisis in the future, a solid foundation has been laid out with extensive research on the topic.


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