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Coping with COVID: Exposure to COVID-19 and Negative Impact on Livelihood Predict Elevated Mental Health Problems in Chinese Adults

35 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2020

See all articles by Jing Guo

Jing Guo

Peking University - Department of Health Policy and Management

Xinglin Feng

Peking University - Department of Health Policy and Management

Xiaohua Wang

Beijing Normal University (BNU) - School of Social Development and Public Policy

Marinus H. van IJzendoorn

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences; University of Cambridge - School of Clinical Medicine

More...

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic might lead to more mental health problems. However, few studies have examined sleep problems, depression and posttraumatic symptoms among the general adult population during the COVID-19 outbreak, and little is known about coping behaviours.

Methods: The survey was conducted online in China from February 1st to February 10th, 2020. A clustered snowball sampling was used to recruit 2858 Chinese citizens aged ≥ 18 years old. Mental health problems were assessed with the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression inventory, and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Exposure to COVID-19 was measured with questions about residence at outbreak, personal exposure, media exposure, and impact on livelihood. General coping style was measured by the brief Coping Style Questionnaire (SCSQ). Respondents were also asked 12 additional questions about COVID-19 specific coping behaviours.

Outcomes: Direct exposure to COVID-19 instead of the specific location of (temporary) residence within or outside the epicentre -Wuhan- of the pandemic seems important (standardized beta: 0·05, 95% CI: 0·02, 0·09). Less mental health problems were also associated with less intense exposure through the media (standardized beta: -0·07, 95% CI: -0·10, -0·03). Perceived negative impact of the pandemic on livelihood showed a large effect size in predicting mental health problems (standardized beta: 0·15, 95% CI: 0·10, 0·19). More use of cognitive and prosocial coping behaviours were associated with less mental health problems (standardized beta: -0·30, 95% CI: -0·34, -0·27).

Interpretation: Our study suggests that the mental health consequences of the lockdown impact on livelihood should not be underestimated. Building on cognitive coping behaviours reappraisal or cognitive behavioral treatments may be most promising.

Funding Statement: Peking University: PKU2020PKYZX007, and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (SPINOZA prize).

Declaration of Interests: None.

Ethics Approval Statement: All participants gave consent after being informed about the aim of the survey and joined the study voluntarily. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Peking University Medical Center.

Keywords: Mental health; PTSS; Depression; Insomnia; COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Guo, Jing and Feng, Xinglin and Wang, Xiaohua and van IJzendoorn, Marinus H., Coping with COVID: Exposure to COVID-19 and Negative Impact on Livelihood Predict Elevated Mental Health Problems in Chinese Adults (4/29/2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3592667 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3592667

Jing Guo (Contact Author)

Peking University - Department of Health Policy and Management ( email )

Beijing
China

Xinglin Feng

Peking University - Department of Health Policy and Management ( email )

Beijing
China

Xiaohua Wang

Beijing Normal University (BNU) - School of Social Development and Public Policy ( email )

Beijing
China

Marinus H. Van IJzendoorn

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

University of Cambridge - School of Clinical Medicine ( email )

Cambridge
United Kingdom

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