Morale and perceived threats as predictors of psychological coping with distress in pandemic and armed conflict times

Yohanan Eshel, Shaul Kimhi, Hadas Marciano, Bruria Adini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigated predictors of psychological coping with adversity responses during the COVID-19 pandemic and an armed conflict. Two paired samples that represented the Israeli population that was exposed to both adversities were compared. Respondents rated five different psychological coping responses associated with the two adversities, such as anxiety or individual resilience. Perceived security, pandemic, economic, and political risks, as well as level of morale, were rated. Two major findings were disclosed by two path analyses. Morale improved the predictions of the varied coping responses in both the pandemic and conflict and was the best predictor of four out of five responses and the second-best predictor of the fifth response. Contrary to previous studies, our findings revealed that the concept of a single major predictor of coping responses under distress is an overgeneralization. In both cases, the coping responses were better explained by other perceived risks rather than by the risk of the investigated adversity. Rather than assume that a perceived security threat accounts for low levels of public moods, it is vital to study the antecedents of coping responses and to empirically examine additional potential predictors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8759
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number16
StatePublished - 19 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Armed conflict
  • COVID-19
  • Distress
  • Morale
  • Perceived risks
  • Positive and negative cognitive appraisals
  • Resilience
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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