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      Health anxiety, cyberchondria, and coping in the current COVID-19 pandemic: Which factors are related to coronavirus anxiety?

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          Highlights

          • First study on anxiety and cyberchondria during the COVID-19 pandemic.

          • The increase in virus anxiety was particularly strong with elevated health anxiety.

          • Health anxiety, cyberchondria, and virus anxiety are positively associated.

          • Combined health anxiety and cyberchondria is associated with strong virus anxiety.

          • Being informed and adaptive emotion regulation can have a beneficial effect.

          Abstract

          According to cognitive-behavioral models, traits, triggering events, cognitions, and adverse behaviors play a pivotal role in the development and maintenance of health anxiety. During virus outbreaks, anxiety is widespread. However, the role of trait health anxiety, cyberchondria, and coping in the context of virus anxiety during the current COVID-19 pandemic has not yet been studied. An online survey was conducted in the German general population ( N = 1,615, 79.8% female, M age = 33.36 years, SD = 13.18) in mid-March 2020, which included questionnaires on anxiety associated with SARS-CoV-2, trait health anxiety, cyberchondria Pandemic (i.e. excessive online information search), and emotion regulation. The participants reported a significantly increasing virus anxiety in recent months (previous months recorded retrospectively), especially among individuals with heightened trait health anxiety. Cyberchondria Pandemic showed positive correlations with current virus anxiety ( r = .09 – .48), and this relationship was additionally moderated by trait health anxiety. A negative correlation was found between the perception of being informed about the pandemic and the current virus anxiety ( r=-.18), with adaptive emotion regulation being a significant moderator for this relationship. The findings suggest that trait health anxiety and cyberchondria serve as risk factors, whereas information about the pandemic and adaptive emotion regulation might represent buffering factors for anxiety during a virus pandemic.

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          Most cited references74

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          Immediate Psychological Responses and Associated Factors during the Initial Stage of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Epidemic among the General Population in China

          Background: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic is a public health emergency of international concern and poses a challenge to psychological resilience. Research data are needed to develop evidence-driven strategies to reduce adverse psychological impacts and psychiatric symptoms during the epidemic. The aim of this study was to survey the general public in China to better understand their levels of psychological impact, anxiety, depression, and stress during the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak. The data will be used for future reference. Methods: From 31 January to 2 February 2020, we conducted an online survey using snowball sampling techniques. The online survey collected information on demographic data, physical symptoms in the past 14 days, contact history with COVID-19, knowledge and concerns about COVID-19, precautionary measures against COVID-19, and additional information required with respect to COVID-19. Psychological impact was assessed by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), and mental health status was assessed by the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). Results: This study included 1210 respondents from 194 cities in China. In total, 53.8% of respondents rated the psychological impact of the outbreak as moderate or severe; 16.5% reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms; 28.8% reported moderate to severe anxiety symptoms; and 8.1% reported moderate to severe stress levels. Most respondents spent 20–24 h per day at home (84.7%); were worried about their family members contracting COVID-19 (75.2%); and were satisfied with the amount of health information available (75.1%). Female gender, student status, specific physical symptoms (e.g., myalgia, dizziness, coryza), and poor self-rated health status were significantly associated with a greater psychological impact of the outbreak and higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (p < 0.05). Specific up-to-date and accurate health information (e.g., treatment, local outbreak situation) and particular precautionary measures (e.g., hand hygiene, wearing a mask) were associated with a lower psychological impact of the outbreak and lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (p < 0.05). Conclusions: During the initial phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, more than half of the respondents rated the psychological impact as moderate-to-severe, and about one-third reported moderate-to-severe anxiety. Our findings identify factors associated with a lower level of psychological impact and better mental health status that can be used to formulate psychological interventions to improve the mental health of vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 epidemic.
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            A power primer.

            One possible reason for the continued neglect of statistical power analysis in research in the behavioral sciences is the inaccessibility of or difficulty with the standard material. A convenient, although not comprehensive, presentation of required sample sizes is provided here. Effect-size indexes and conventional values for these are given for operationally defined small, medium, and large effects. The sample sizes necessary for .80 power to detect effects at these levels are tabled for eight standard statistical tests: (a) the difference between independent means, (b) the significance of a product-moment correlation, (c) the difference between independent rs, (d) the sign test, (e) the difference between independent proportions, (f) chi-square tests for goodness of fit and contingency tables, (g) one-way analysis of variance, and (h) the significance of a multiple or multiple partial correlation.
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              Factors Associated With Mental Health Outcomes Among Health Care Workers Exposed to Coronavirus Disease 2019

              Key Points Question What factors are associated with mental health outcomes among health care workers in China who are treating patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Findings In this cross-sectional study of 1257 health care workers in 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 in multiple regions of China, a considerable proportion of health care workers reported experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress, especially women, nurses, those in Wuhan, and front-line health care workers directly engaged in diagnosing, treating, or providing nursing care to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Meaning These findings suggest that, among Chinese health care workers exposed to COVID-19, women, nurses, those in Wuhan, and front-line health care workers have a high risk of developing unfavorable mental health outcomes and may need psychological support or interventions.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Anxiety Disord
                J Anxiety Disord
                Journal of Anxiety Disorders
                Elsevier Ltd.
                0887-6185
                1873-7897
                20 May 2020
                20 May 2020
                : 102239
                Affiliations
                [0005]Department of Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Experimental Psychopathology, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author at: Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Department of Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Experimental Psychopathology, Wallstraße 3, 55122 Mainz, Germany. jungmann@ 123456uni-mainz.de
                Article
                S0887-6185(20)30053-0 102239
                10.1016/j.janxdis.2020.102239
                7239023
                32502806
                931bddf7-4b8f-4aba-bb30-92543e23a78d
                © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                History
                : 19 April 2020
                : 13 May 2020
                : 13 May 2020
                Categories
                Article

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                cyberchondria,covid-19,emotion regulation,health anxiety,virus anxiety

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