Resilience and demographic characteristics predicting distress during the COVID-19 crisis

Shaul Kimhi, Hadas Marciano, Yohanan Eshel, Bruria Adini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: Due to lack of vaccine or cure, the COVID-19 pandemic presents a threat to all human beings, undermining people's basic sense of safety and increasing distress symptoms. Objective: To investigate the extent to which individual resilience, well-being and demographic characteristics may predict two indicators of Coronavirus pandemic: distress symptoms and perceived danger. Method: Two independent samples were employed: 1) 605 respondents recruited through an internet panel company; 2) 741 respondents recruited through social media, using snowball sampling. Both samples filled a structured online questionnaire. Correlations between psychological/demographic variables and distress and perceived danger were examined. Path analysis was conducted to identify predictive indicators of distress and perceived danger. Results: Significant negative correlations were found between individual/community resilience and sense of danger (−0.220 and −0.255 respectively; p < .001) and distress symptoms (- 0.398 and −0.544 respectively; p < .001). Significant positive correlations were found between gender, community size, economic difficulties and sense of danger (0.192, 0.117 and 0.244 respectively; p < .001). Gender and economic difficulties also positively correlated with distress symptoms (0.130 and 0.214 respectively; p < .001). Path analysis revealed that all paths were significant (p < .008 to .001) except between family income and distress symptoms (p = .12). The seven predictors explained 20% of sense of danger variance and 34% the distress symptoms variance. The most highly predictive indicators were the two psychological characteristics, individual resilience, and well-being. Age, gender, community size, and economic difficulties due to COVID-19 further add to predicting distress, while community and national resilience do not. . Conclusions: Individual resilience and well-being have been found as the first and foremost predictors of COVID-19 anxiety. Though both predictors are complex and may be influenced by many factors, given the potential return of COVID-19 threat and other future health pandemic threats to our world, we must rethink and develop ways to reinforce them.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113389
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anxiety/epidemiology
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Depression/epidemiology
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mental Health/statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological/epidemiology
  • Young Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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