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1. chinaXiv:202003.00005 [pdf]

Psychological responses to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Zheng JIN; Kaibin ZHAO; Yanyu XIA; Ruijun CHEN; Huan YU; Timothy TAMUNANG TAMUTANA1; Jeffrey SHERMAN; Christina BERMEITINGER; Pamela BAESS
Subjects: Psychology >> Social Psychology

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected more than 90,000 people in at least 69 countries by Feb 29, 2020. Medical interest in COVID-19 has been considerable. Mental health issues that coincide with the epidemics are rarely examined. There is a strong need for public health officials to consider how psychological effects vary at each phase of a crisis and how they relate to people to better support them in these shifting states of mind. The present study examines temporal relationships among behavioral and emotional responses towards COVID-19 and attitudinal responses to crisis management. 846 adults were invited to complete a set of Internet-based questionnaires at two time points with a range of 14 to 18 days’ intervals covered by the ascending phase of the outbreak. At the baseline assessment 788 adults completed the questionnaires. At the Wave 2 survey, 318 adults from Wave 1 were retained. Results from cross-lagged models demonstrated reciprocal negative associations between anxiety and crisis management appraise. In addition, the higher evaluation of crisis management in the initial period of outbreak predicted adoption of preventive behaviors and susceptibility to emotional contagion to a greater extend in a later period. Susceptibility to emotional contagion also positively predicted preventive behaviors taken. Furthermore, multiple group structural equation modeling revealed that evaluation of crisis management is more likely to affect the susceptibility to emotional contagion of people on the frontline of the outbreak (i.e., Wuhan) compared to people living in moderate risk areas (i.e., Outside of Hubei). These data provide experimental evidence regarding mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak, and over the course of a pandemic, which will direct governments and health authorities during disease outbreaks through their attempts to communicate with the public.

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