Feelings of Fear, Sadness, and Loneliness During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from two studies in the UK

YPSILANTI, Antonia, MULLINGS, Emma, HAWKINS, Oliver and LAZURAS, Lambros (2021). Feelings of Fear, Sadness, and Loneliness During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from two studies in the UK. Journal of Affective Disorders, 295, 1012-1023.

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Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.08.031


During the COVID-19 pandemic, exposure to COVID-related stimuli, has been enormous. Exposure to threat-related stimuli, can have a significant impact on people's wellbeing particularly in relation to COVID-related anxiety. The present research comprises two empirical studies. In Study 1, a newly developed Emotional Stroop Task (EST) and an Image Rating Task (IRT) were used to assess, automatic and non-automatic affective responses to COVID-related words and images during the first wave of the pandemic in the UK general population. In Study 2, the same tasks were used to evaluate the affective responses of University students during the second wave of the pandemic. Additionally, loneliness and pro-social behaviours were explored in relation COVID-related anxiety in the same population. Overall, the results showed that automatic affective responses as measured by interference effects on the EST, remained unaffected during the pandemic. However, non-automatic affective responses to COVID-related images measured by the IRT, indicated that participants rated these images as more fearful sadder and higher in anger, compared to non-COVID negative images matched for arousal and negativity and this was more evident in people with high COVID-anxiety. Trait anxiety was related to higher levels of loneliness, more prosocial behaviour and higher intentions to help others, while COVID-related anxiety mediated these effects, suggesting that for high levels of trait anxiety, participants were more likely to have helped someone in need during the pandemic when their COVID-anxiety levels were low.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences; 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences; Psychiatry
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.08.031
Page Range: 1012-1023
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2021 09:20
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2022 01:18
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/29059

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