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To remove some variability in outcome at all covariate values while maintaining structure of the relationship between outcome and independent variables, the independent variables were categorized. Subjects were subdivided into two groups with respect to age (<51/⩾51 years),19 religious beliefs (no/yes), and geographic area of hospital work (Northern Italy/other geographic areas). In the absence of HOPE scale screening score studies, a median split on the two HOPE strategies were taken to create two groups (low vs high)—HOPE-Agency (<28/>27), HOPE-Pathways (<26/>25)—with the advantage of creating two equally numerous groups without being affected by extreme values. A variable called “psychological burden” was created as a sum of the “yes” responses to 7 items: exposure to COVID-19, positivity to COVID-19 test, concern about dying in case of contagion, avoidance by family and/or friends because of job, psychological support received, use of psychotropic drugs, use of sleep remedies.

The descriptive statistics included percentages or mean values, depending on the nature of each variable, as well as SDs whenever applicable. The correlations were estimated by computing Pearson coefficient r. Cronbach alpha was used to assess the internal consistency of scales.

Crude and adjusted odds ratios (AORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to study the association between selected variables and the propensity for peritraumatic stress (CPDI >27). Model-building involved assessing bivariate associations between the dependent variable and each of the potential covariates; covariates not significantly associated (p > 0.10) with the outcome were then excluded from further consideration. The remaining candidate covariates underwent multivariable logistic regression and were subjected to backward selection until all remaining covariates had p value <0.05. Age and sex were treated as confounding variables.

No questionnaire was excluded from analysis for missing values. Analyses were conducted on a sample of 237 psycho-oncologists.

All statistical analyses were performed using STATA, version 11.0 (StataCorp, College Station, TX), with statistical significance set at p = 0.05.

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