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Mental Health and Psychological Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross- Cultural Comparison of Japan, Malaysia, China, and the U.S

25 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2021

See all articles by Daichi Sugawara

Daichi Sugawara

University of Tsukuba - Department of Human Sciences

Yuta Chishima

University of Tsukuba - Department of Human Sciences

Takahiro Kubo

Iryo Sosei University - Psychological Counseling Center

Raja Intan Arifah Binti Raja Shah

HELP University - Department of Psychology

Evone Yee Mun Phoo

HELP University - Department of Psychology

Siew Li Ng

HELP University - Department of Psychology

Akihiro Masuyama

Iryo Sosei University - Faculty of Psychology

Yuan Gu

Dalian Maritime University - Public Administration and Humanities

Eugene YJ Tee

HELP University - Department of Psychology

More...

Abstract

Background: Research on psychological resilience is essential for buffering the deterioration of mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We conducted an online survey in four countries (Japan, Malaysia, China, and the U.S.), to examine psychological resilience that led to the maintenance of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We conducted a contemporaneous international survey on Japanese, Malaysian, Chinese, and U.S. citizens. A total of 1,583 people responded to the survey between October 14 and November 2, 2020. We measured a wide range of demographic and data on mental illness, as well as data on the fear of COVID-19. Data on sense of control, ego-resilience, grit, self-compassion, and indicators of resilience were also collected.

Outcomes: Sense of control was negatively associated with mental illness in all four countries. Self-compassion was negatively associated with mental illness (depression, anxiety, and stress) in samples from Japan, China, and the U.S. We also found an interaction effect for sense of control: the lower the sense of control , the stronger the deterioration of mental illness when the fear of COVID-19 was high. High ego-resilience is a strong predictor of mental illness when fear of COVID-19 was high in Japan and China.

Interpretation: A sense of control and self-compassion are useful in preventing mental health deterioration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly, a sense of control was found to be effective in maintaining mental health across cultures, and may even prevent the deterioration of mental health.

Funding: This study was partly supported by the Research Support Program to Apply the Wisdom of the University to tackle COVID-19 Related Emergency Problems (University of Tsukuba) and the Liaoning Social Science Planning Fund Project (Dalian Maritime University).

Declaration of Interest: None to declare.

Ethical Approval: The first part of the web survey explained the research ethics. We specified that the survey was approved by the research ethics committee of the University of Tsukuba, that participants did not have to answer any question that they did not wish to, that they were considered to have consented to the research by answering the questions, and that the data would be anonymized and published in a form that would not identify individuals. The items of the scales and raw data measured in the RE-COVER Project have already been made openly available (https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/P56GA).

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; sense of control; ego-resilience; grit; self-compassion; mental health; cultural comparison

Suggested Citation

Sugawara, Daichi and Chishima, Yuta and Kubo, Takahiro and Shah, Raja Intan Arifah Binti Raja and Phoo, Evone Yee Mun and Ng, Siew Li and Masuyama, Akihiro and Gu, Yuan and Tee, Eugene YJ, Mental Health and Psychological Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross- Cultural Comparison of Japan, Malaysia, China, and the U.S. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3820528 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3820528

Daichi Sugawara (Contact Author)

University of Tsukuba - Department of Human Sciences ( email )

Japan

Yuta Chishima

University of Tsukuba - Department of Human Sciences ( email )

Japan

Takahiro Kubo

Iryo Sosei University - Psychological Counseling Center ( email )

Raja Intan Arifah Binti Raja Shah

HELP University - Department of Psychology

Malaysia

Evone Yee Mun Phoo

HELP University - Department of Psychology

Malaysia

Siew Li Ng

HELP University - Department of Psychology

Malaysia

Akihiro Masuyama

Iryo Sosei University - Faculty of Psychology ( email )

Yuan Gu

Dalian Maritime University - Public Administration and Humanities

1 Linghai Road
Dalian, 116026
China

Eugene YJ Tee

HELP University - Department of Psychology

Malaysia

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