COVID-19-Related Threat, Existential Isolation, and Well-Being
Objective: Prior work suggests perceived COVID-19-related threat and existential isolation (EI) would be associated with greater anxiety and depression, worse subjective health and well-being, and lower hope. However, it was unclear whether such concerns might have additive effects (no interaction, two independent main effects) or interact (one effect modifies the other).Method: Two studies collected data via MTurk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Study 1 (N = 110) measured perceived COVID19-related threat, EI, anxiety and depression, subjective well-being, and hope. Study 2 (N = 2,673) measured perceived COVID19-related threat, EI, anxiety, subjective health, and hope.Results: In general, perceived COVID19-related threat and EI were associated with anxiety and depression, worse subjective health and well-being, and reduced hope. On one outcome (hope, Study 2), an interaction was observed: perceived threat was associated with lower hope among those with high EI, but higher hope among those with low EI. However, on most outcomes (6 of 7), across both studies, additive effects were observed: greater cumulative existential stress (perceived COVID-19-related threat, EI) was associated with worse anxiety and depression, subjective health and well-being, and hope.Conclusion: Discussion highlights theoretical considerations, practical implications, and the therapeutic value of addressing existential concerns in mental health.
Vail, Kenneth E. and al, et., "COVID-19-Related Threat, Existential Isolation, and Well-Being" (2023). Psychology Faculty Publications. 65.