Posttraumatic stress and COVID-19-related stressors: a prospective observational study

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Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic may trigger posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) due to its threat to health, well-being, and survival. Objectives: To assess levels of change in PTSS at three waves during the COVID-19 pandemic; 2) to examine the role of four objective and subjective predictors salient COVID-19–loss of resources, sense of loneliness, perceived COVID-19 threat, and uncertainty stress–on the trajectory of PTSS. Methods: The study consisted of three waves, a month apart, between June and August 2020, with 903, 718, and 684 participants in each wave, respectively. Results: At T0, participants had a medium level of PTSS (M = 2.07, SD = 0.89), which increased at T1 (M = 2.46, SD = 0.97) and decreased at T2 (M = 2.24, SD = 0.93). Linear mixed-effects modeling showed that loss of resources, sense of loneliness, perceived COVID-19 threat, and uncertainty stress were significant predictors of PTSS over the three time-points. Significant interactions between these predictors (except sense of loneliness) and time were found: At higher levels of resource loss, uncertainty stress, and COVID-19 threat, there was a steeper increase in PTSS from baseline to 1 month. Conclusions: The four predictors of PTSS should be addressed via strengthening resilience of individuals and communities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • loss of resources
  • perceived threat
  • posttraumatic symptoms
  • sense of loneliness
  • uncertainty stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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