Psychosocial determinants of anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pandemic health threats can cause considerable anxiety, but not all individuals react similarly. To understand the sources of this variability, we applied a theoretical model developed during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 to quantify relationships among intolerance of uncertainty, stress appraisals, and coping style that predict anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic. We surveyed 1579 U.S. Amazon Mechanical Turk workers in April 2020. Using structural equation modeling, we found that individuals who were more intolerant of uncertainty reported higher appraisals of threat, stress, and other-control, which predicted higher anxiety when emotion-focused coping was engaged, and lower anxiety when problem-focused coping was engaged. Political affiliation moderated these effects, such that conservatives relied more on self-control and other-control appraisals to mitigate anxiety than independents or liberals. These results show that how people appraise and cope with their stress interacts with political ideology to shape anxiety in the face of a global health threat.
Wright, RN; Faul, L; Graner, JL; Stewart, GW; LaBar, KS
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