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1.
Front Public Health ; 11: 990407, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2300960

ABSTRACT

Clinical observations indicate that people frequently display stress-related behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although numerous studies have been published concerning pandemic-related psychological distress, systematic data on the interrelationships between stress sensitivity, personality, and behavioral characteristics of people are still lacking. In the present cross-sectional online survey study, we applied a German version of the COVID Stress Scales (CSS) and standard psychological questionnaires to systematically identify the complex interplay between stress sensitivity, gender, and personality in the modulation of quality of life and mental health in the German population (N = 1774; age ≥ 16 years). A CSS-based cluster analysis revealed two clusters characterized by higher and lower stress levels. Study participants in each cluster differed significantly with respect to neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, quality of life, depression, and anxiety. Females were significantly overrepresented in the higher stress cluster, while there was an overrepresentation of males in the lower stress cluster. Neuroticism was identified as a risk factor and extraversion as a protective factor for enhanced pandemic-related stress responses. For the first time our data show a taxonomy of factors, which modulate pandemic-related stress sensitivity and warrant consideration as key indicators of quality of life and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. We suggest that our data may advise governmental regulation of pandemic-related public health measures, to optimize quality of life and psychological health in different groups of the population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Male , Female , Humans , Adolescent , COVID-19/epidemiology , Mental Health , Pandemics , Cross-Sectional Studies , Quality of Life , Depression/epidemiology , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , Stress, Psychological/psychology
3.
PLoS One ; 18(2): e0279319, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2224466

ABSTRACT

The COVID Stress Scales (CSS) are a new self-report instrument for multidimensional assessment of psychological stress in the context of the pandemic. The CSS have now been translated and validated in over 20 languages, but a validated German version has not yet been available. Therefore, the aim was to develop a German version of the CSS, to test its factor structure, reliability, and validity, and to compare it with international studies. In an online survey (08/2020-06/2021), N = 1774 individuals from the German general population (71.5% female; Mage = 41.2 years, SD = 14.2) completed the CSS as well as questionnaires on related constructs and psychopathology. After eight weeks, participants were asked to participate again for the purpose of calculating retest reliability (N = 806). For the German version, the 6-factor structure with good model fit (Root Mean Square Error of Approximation, RMSEA = 0.06) was confirmed, with the six subscales: Danger, Socio-Economic Consequences, Xenophobia, Contamination, Traumatic Stress, and Compulsive Checking. Internal consistencies ranged from ω = .82-.94 (except Compulsive Checking ω = .70), and retest reliability from rtt = .62-.82. Convergent and discriminant validity were confirmed for the German version. Related constructs such as health anxiety, general xenophobia, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms correlated moderately with the respective subscale and lower with the other scales. With anxiety and depression, Traumatic Stress showed the strongest correlation. Overall, there was a high degree of agreement in an international comparison. The CSS can help to identify pandemic-related psychological stress and to derive appropriate interventions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic , Humans , Female , Male , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Reproducibility of Results , Anxiety/diagnosis , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/diagnosis , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/epidemiology , Surveys and Questionnaires , Psychometrics
4.
PLoS One ; 17(11): e0276791, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2117901

ABSTRACT

According to the World Health Organization, pandemic fatigue poses a serious threat for managing COVID-19. Pandemic fatigue is characterized by progressive decline in adherence to social distancing (SDIS) guidelines, and is thought to be associated with pandemic-related emotional burnout. Little is known about the nature of pandemic fatigue; for example, it is unclear who is most likely to develop pandemic fatigue. We sought to evaluate this issue based on data from 5,812 American and Canadian adults recruited during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Past-year decline in adherence to SDIS had a categorical latent structure according to Latent Class Analysis, consisting of a group adherent to SDIS (Class 1: 92% of the sample) and a group reporting a progressive decline in adherence to SDIS (i.e., pandemic fatigue; Class 2: 8% of the sample). Class 2, compared to Class 1, was associated with greater pandemic-related burnout, pessimism, and apathy about the COVID-19 pandemic. They also tended to be younger, perceived themselves to be more affluent, tended to have greater levels of narcissism, entitlement, and gregariousness, and were more likely to report having been previously infected with SARSCOV2, which they regarded as an exaggerated threat. People in Class 2 also self-reported higher levels of pandemic-related stress, anxiety, and depression, and described making active efforts at coping with SDIS restrictions, which they perceived as unnecessary and stressful. People in Class 1 generally reported that they engaged in SDIS for the benefit of themselves and their community, although 35% of this class also feared they would be publicly shamed if they did not comply with SDIS guidelines. The findings suggest that pandemic fatigue affects a substantial minority of people and even many SDIS-adherent people experience emotionally adverse effects (i.e., fear of being shamed). Implications for the future of SDIS are discussed.


Subject(s)
Burnout, Professional , COVID-19 , Adult , Humans , United States , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Latent Class Analysis , RNA, Viral , Canada/epidemiology , Fatigue/epidemiology , Burnout, Professional/epidemiology
5.
J Anxiety Disord ; 87: 102554, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1778263

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: No studies have examined whether levels of COVID stress vary across anxiety-related disorders. Likewise, no studies have assessed structural invariance of the COVID Stress Scales (CSS) across clinical diagnoses. We sought to address these issues in the present study. Given the dynamic nature of pandemics, we also assessed whether COVID stress changed from the first to third wave in those with clinical diagnoses and those with no mental health conditions. METHOD: Data were collected during COVID-19 from two independent samples of adults assessed about a year apart (early-mid in 2020, N = 6854; and early-mid 2021, N = 5812) recruited from Canada and the United States through an online survey. Participants provided demographic information, indicated the presence of current (i.e., past-year) anxiety-related or mood disorder, and completed the CSS. RESULTS: The five CSS were reliable (internally consistent), and the five-factor structure was stable across samples. Scores tended to be highest in people with anxiety-related or mood disorders, particularly panic disorder. As expected, scores fluctuated over time, being higher during the early phases of the pandemic when threat was greatest and lower during the later phases, when vaccines were deployed and the COVID-19 threat was reduced. CONCLUSION: The findings add to the growing number of studies supporting the psychometric properties of the CSS. The results encourage further investigations into the utility of the scales, such as their ability to detect treatment-related changes in COVID-19-related distress. The scales also show promise for studies of future pandemics or outbreaks because the CSS can be modified, with minor wording changes, to assess distress associated with all kinds of disease outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adult , Anxiety/diagnosis , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety Disorders/diagnosis , Anxiety Disorders/epidemiology , Depression , Humans , Psychometrics , Stress, Psychological/psychology , United States
6.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0263888, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690705

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID Stress Scales (CSS) assess health- and contamination-related distress in the face of a medical outbreak like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Though the CSS is translated into 21 languages, it has not been validated in a Swedish national sample. AIM: Our general objective is to provide a translation, replication, and validation of the CSS and test its convergent- and discriminant validity in relation to anxiety, health anxiety, depression, and stress in the general Swedish population. We also present latent psychometric properties by modelling based on item response theory. METHODS: Participants consisted of 3044 Swedish adults (> 18 years) from a pre-stratified (gender, age, and education) sample from The Swedish Citizen Panel. Mental health status was assessed by validated instruments, including the CSS, PHQ-4, SHAI-14, and PSS-10. RESULTS: Results indicate that our Swedish translation of CSS has good psychometric properties and consists of 5 correlated factors. DISCUSSION: The CSS is useful either as a unidimensional or multidimensional construct using the CSS scales to measure key facets of pandemic-related stress. CONCLUSIONS: The findings support the cross-cultural validity of the CSS and its potential utility in understanding many of the emotional challenges posed by the current and future pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Psychiatric Status Rating Scales , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Discriminant Analysis , Factor Analysis, Statistical , Female , Humans , Least-Squares Analysis , Male , Middle Aged , Regression Analysis , Socioeconomic Factors , Sweden , Young Adult
7.
J Anxiety Disord ; 86: 102535, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648744

Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
8.
PLoS One ; 16(10): e0259062, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496527

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to generate a linguistic equivalent of the COVID Stress Scales (CSS) in the Serbian language and examine its psychometric characteristics. Data were collected from September to December 2020 among the general population of three cities in Republic of Serbia and Republic of Srpska, countries where the Serbian language is spoken. Participants completed a socio-demographic questionnaire, followed by the CSS and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). The CSS was validated using the standard methodology (i.e., forward and backward translations, pilot testing). The reliability of the Serbian CSS was assessed using Cronbach's alpha and McDonald's omega coefficients and convergent validity was evaluated by correlating the CSS with PSS. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed to examine the construct validity of the Serbian CSS. This study included 961 persons (52.8% males and 47.2% females). The Cronbach's alpha coefficient of the Serbian CSS was 0.964 and McDonald's omega was 0.964. The Serbian CSS with 36 items and a six-factorial structure showed a measurement model with a satisfactory fit for our population (CMIN/DF = 4.391; GFI = 0.991; RMSEA = 0.025). The CSS total and all domain scores significantly positively correlated with PSS total score. The Serbian version of the CSS is a valid and reliable questionnaire that can be used in assessing COVID-19-related distress experienced by Serbian speaking people during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as future epidemics and pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Language , Pandemics , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Psychometrics , Reproducibility of Results , Serbia
10.
Front Psychol ; 12: 632227, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1231386

ABSTRACT

Psychological stress reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic are complex and multifaceted. Research provides evidence of a COVID Stress Syndrome (CSS), consisting of (1) worry about the dangerousness of getting infected with SARSCoV2 and coming into contact with infected surfaces, (2) worry concerning the personal socioeconomic consequences of COVID-19, (3) xenophobic fears that SARSCOV2 is being spread by foreigners, (4) COVID-19-related traumatic stress symptoms (e.g., nightmares), and (5) compulsive checking and reassurance-seeking about COVID-19. Little is known about how these symptoms are related to vulnerability and protective personality factors. Based on data from 1,976 US and Canadian adults, we conducted a prospective network analysis in which personality factors were initially assessed at Time 1 and then symptoms of the CSS were assessed at Time 2, 2.5 months later. Results indicated that trait optimism and trait resilience were negatively associated with negative emotionality, suggesting a modulatory (inhibitory) influence. Negative emotionality was positively linked to the narrower traits of intolerance of uncertainty and health anxiety proneness. These narrower traits, in turn, were prospectively linked to symptoms of the CSS. Results suggest that the effects of broad personality traits (e.g., negative emotionality, trait resilience) on symptoms of the CSS were mediated by narrower traits such as the intolerance of uncertainty. Treatment implications are discussed.

11.
Colorado Nurse ; 121(2):5-5, 2021.
Article in English | CINAHL | ID: covidwho-1226135

ABSTRACT

The article discusses the risks of substance use and abuse facing healthcare and essential workers in the U.S. due to changes to their behavioral immune system (BIS) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other topics include the categories of stressors during the pandemic like social and economic stress, traumatic stress symptoms, and danger and contamination fear, as well as xenophobia as a unique factor of COVID Stress Syndrome.

12.
J Anxiety Disord ; 81: 102418, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225272

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is considerable evidence of widespread emotional distress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. A growing number of studies have assessed posttraumatic growth related to the current pandemic; but, none have considered whether reported growth is real or illusory (i.e., characterized by avoidant or defensive coping that results in higher levels of distress). The purpose of this study was to extend this literature by assessing growth specific to the pandemic in people reporting high levels of COVID-related stress and estimating the extent of real and illusory COVID-19-related growth. METHODS: Participants were 893 adults from Canada and the United States with high levels of COVID-related stress who provided complete responses on measures of posttraumatic growth, disability, and measures of general and COVID-related distress as part of a larger longitudinal survey. RESULTS: Approximately 77 % of participants reported moderate to high growth in at least one respect, the most common being developing greater appreciation for healthcare workers, for the value of one's own life, for friends and family, for each day, as well as changing priorities about what is important in life and greater feelings of self-reliance. Consistent with predictions, cluster analysis identified two clusters characterized by high growth, one comprising 32 % of the sample and reflective of real growth (i.e., reporting little disability and stable symptoms across time) and the other comprising 17 % of the sample and reflective of illusory growth (i.e., reporting high disability and worsening symptoms). These clusters did not differ in terms of socially desirable response tendencies; but, the illusory growth cluster reported greater increases in alcohol use since onset of the pandemic. CONCLUSION: Consistent with research regarding personal growth in response to prior pandemics and COVID-19, we found evidence to suggest moderate to high levels of COVID-related growth with respect to appreciation for healthcare workers, life, friends and family, and self-reliance. Findings from our cluster analysis support the thesis that many reports of COVID-related personal growth reflect ineffectual pandemic-related coping as opposed to true growth. These findings have important implications for developing strategies to optimize stress resilience and posttraumatic growth during chronically stressful events such as pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adaptation, Psychological , Adult , Canada , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
13.
Clin Psychol Psychother ; 28(6): 1391-1402, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1195116

ABSTRACT

Suicidal ideation is prevalent in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); but, during COVID-19, it may be increased. The present study aimed to examine the effects of obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptom dimensions and OCD severity on suicidal ideation by considering the role of stress responses in reaction to COVID-19 in a clinical sample of patients with OCD. In a cross-sectional study, 304 patients with OCD completed measures of OC symptom dimensions, OCD severity, general mental health (depression and anxiety), and COVID-19-related stress. Results showed that after controlling for depression, anxiety, comorbidity, and lifetime suicide attempts, the OC symptom dimensions of responsibility for harm and unacceptable obsessional thoughts as well as general severity had indirect effects on suicidal ideation through the specific stress responses to COVID-19, including traumatic stress and compulsive checking. The study shows that OCD patients with specific OC symptom dimensions and severe OCD are more likely to have suicidal ideation during the pandemic. Further, the specific stress responses to COVID-19 may be an underlying mechanism. Clinicians should carefully assess suicidal ideation in patients with OCD who experience responsibility for harm and unacceptable thoughts, particularly during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder/complications , Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Suicidal Ideation
14.
Pers Individ Dif ; 176: 110779, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1114557

ABSTRACT

During pandemics such as COVID-19, voluntary self-isolation is important for limiting the spread of infection. Little is known about the traits that predict distress or coping with pandemic-related self-isolation. Some studies suggest that personality variables (e.g., introversion, conscientiousness, resilience, optimism) are important in predicting distress and coping during self-isolation, but such studies have not controlled for important variables such as stressors associated with self-isolation, demographic variables, and individual differences in beliefs (worries) about the dangerousness of COVID-19. The present study is, to our knowledge, the first to investigate the role of personality traits, demographic characteristics, and COVID-related beliefs about contracting the coronavirus. Data from a population representative sample of 938 adults from the United States and Canada, in voluntary self-isolation, revealed that COVID-related threat beliefs were more important than various personality variables in predicting (a) self-isolation distress, (b) general distress, (c) stockpiling behaviors, and (c) use of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and visors. There was little evidence that personality traits influenced threat beliefs. The findings are relevant for understanding distress and protective behaviors during the current pandemic, in subsequent waves of this pandemic, and in later pandemics, and for informing the development of targeted mental health interventions.

15.
Cogn Behav Ther ; 50(3): 191-203, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083280

ABSTRACT

Excessive fear and worry in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., COVID stress syndrome) is prevalent and associated with various adverse outcomes. Research from the current and past pandemics supports the association between transdiagnostic constructs-anxiety sensitivity (AS), disgust, and intolerance of uncertainty (IU)-and pandemic-related distress. Recent research suggests a moderating effect of disgust on the relationship of AS-physical concerns and COVID-19-related distress, suggesting that transdiagnostic constructs underlie individual differences in activation of the behavioral immune system (BIS). No previous study has examined the independent and conjoint effects of pre-COVID-19 AS-physical concerns, disgust propensity (DP), disgust sensitivity (DS), and IU in this context; thus, we did so using longitudinal survey data (N = 3,062 Canadian and American adults) with simple and moderated moderations controlling for gender, mental health diagnosis, and COVID-19 diagnosis. Greater AS-physical concerns, DP, and DS predicted more severe COVID stress syndrome assessed one month later. Either DP or DS further amplified the effect of AS-physical concerns on COVID stress syndrome, except danger and contamination fears. IU did not interact with AS-physical concerns and DS or DP. Theoretical and clinical implications pertaining to delivery of cognitive behavioural therapy for pandemic-related distress are discussed.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/psychology , Disgust , Fear/psychology , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Uncertainty , Adult , Aged , Anxiety/immunology , Anxiety Disorders/immunology , Anxiety Disorders/psychology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Canada , Female , Humans , Immune System/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Stress, Psychological/immunology
17.
Anxiety Stress Coping ; 34(2): 130-144, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066118

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Research during prior virus outbreaks has examined vulnerability factors associated with increased anxiety and fear. DESIGN: We explored numerous psychopathology, sociodemographic, and virus exposure-related variables associated with anxiety and perceived threat of death regarding COVID-19. METHOD: We recruited 908 adults from Eastern China for a cross-sectional web survey, from 24 February to 15 March 2020, when social distancing was heavily enforced in China. We used several machine learning algorithms to train our statistical model of predictor variables in modeling COVID-19-related anxiety, and perceived threat of death, separately. We trained the model using many simulated replications on a random subset of participants, and subsequently externally tested on the remaining subset of participants. RESULTS: Shrinkage machine learning algorithms performed best, indicating that stress and rumination were the most important variables in modeling COVID-19-related anxiety severity. Health anxiety was the most potent predictor of perceived threat of death from COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: Results are discussed in the context of research on anxiety and fear from prior virus outbreaks, and from theory on outbreak-related emotional vulnerability. Implications regarding COVID-19-related anxiety are also discussed.


Subject(s)
Anxiety Disorders/psychology , COVID-19/psychology , Fear/psychology , Machine Learning , Mass Media/statistics & numerical data , Socioeconomic Factors , Adult , China , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Models, Statistical , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
18.
J Anxiety Disord ; 76: 102326, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023631
19.
J Obsessive Compuls Relat Disord ; 28: 100615, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-997177

ABSTRACT

The COVID Stress Scales (CSS) were designed to assess stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Emerging evidence indicates that people with anxiety disorders (ADs) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may be more negatively impacted by COVID-19 than those with mood disorders or healthy individuals. Accordingly, this study sought to validate the Persian CSS (Persian-CSS) and to compare COVID-19-related stress reactions among patients with specific ADs and OCD. Patients with OCD (n = 300) and ADs (n = 310) completed the Persian-CSS and other scales developed to assess anxiety-related traits and COVID-19-related distress. The Persian-CSS replicated a five-factor structure similar to the original CSS in OCD and ADs. The total CSS and its scales had good reliability and validity. Patients with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and OCD had higher COVID-19 stress reactions than patients with social anxiety disorder and specific phobia. Patients with panic disorder had higher danger and contamination fears and xenophobia than patients with OCD. The study suggests that the Persian-CSS is a valid scale to be used in patients with OCD and ADs, each of whom differs in their specific patterns of COVID-19-related stress reactions.

20.
Hum Behav Emerg Technol ; 3(1): 137-146, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-995939

ABSTRACT

Health anxiety has been linked with fear and anxiety regarding COVID-19. Higher levels of health anxiety likely increased social distancing and self-isolating during the pandemic. We investigated relations among health anxiety, fear of missing out (FOMO) on rewarding social experiences from social distancing, and consequential levels of problematic smartphone use (PSU) and gaming disorder (GD). We surveyed a broad sample of 812 U.S. and Canadian participants during the pandemic, in late-May 2020, using the Short Health Anxiety Inventory, FOMO Scale, Smartphone Addiction Scale-Short Version, and GD test. Significant bivariate relationships were found among health anxiety, FOMO, PSU, and GD severity. Using structural equation modeling, FOMO mediated relations between health anxiety and both PSU and GD severity. We discuss FOMO as an important variable explaining problematic digital technology use to compensate for unmet social needs from social distancing. We discuss these findings within the context of the Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution theoretical model of problematic internet use. Results offer novel insight into the role of health anxiety on FOMO from unmet social needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and consequential problematic internet use.

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