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A National Study of Zoom Fatigue and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Future Remote Work
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking  (IF6.135),  Pub Date : 2022-07-11, DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2021.0257
Eric B. Elbogen, Megan Lanier, Sarah C. Griffin, Shannon M. Blakey, Jeffrey A. Gluff, H. Ryan Wagner, Jack Tsai

Overuse of videoconferencing for work may contribute to what has been called “Zoom fatigue”: feeling anxious, socially isolated, or emotionally exhausted due to lack of social connection. Given implications for employee well-being, this study investigated Zoom fatigue at work and its potential link to mental health symptoms. A national survey of mental health symptoms was conducted in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020. Adults (n = 902) endorsing a shift at work to videoconferencing completed an online survey; survey criteria included an age minimum of 22 years and reported annual gross income of <$75,000. Statistical raking was employed to weight the sample using U.S. census data on geographic region, age, gender, race, and ethnicity. A three-item Zoom Fatigue Scale measuring perceived stress, isolation, and depression associated with videoconferencing at work showed good internal consistency (α = 0.85). Higher scores on this scale were related to being married, nonwhite race, post-high school education, severe mental illness, greater loneliness, lower social support, lacking money for food, and more weekly videoconference calls. Depressive symptoms demonstrated a significant association with Zoom fatigue, even when adjusting for demographic, psychosocial, and clinical covariates. The study findings indicated that employers and employees should consider a complex array of individual-level and environment-level factors when assessing how videoconferencing at work may engender stress, social isolation, and emotional exhaustion. This impact could adversely impact mental health, work productivity, and quality of life, even after the COVID-19 pandemic.