COVID-19 study: Meaning in life and self-control protect against stress

During the Corona crisis mental distress increased substantially. What helps people get through this time well?
22-Oct-2020 1:35 PM EDT, by University of Innsbruck

Newswise — Numerous studies over the last few weeks have pointed out that the effects of the Corona pandemic on people's mental health can be enormous and affect large parts of the population. In spring, Prof. Tatjana Schnell from the Existential Psychology Lab at the Department of Psychology at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, together with her colleague Henning Krampe from the Departement of Anaesthesiology at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, launched a comprehensive quantitative study.

First results of this study have now been published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry. Between 10 April and 28 May, a total of 1538 German-speaking persons, mainly from Austria and Germany, completed online questionnaires about their living conditions, their perception of the pandemic situation (COVID-19 Stress) and various characteristics of mental health, with a main focus on meaning in life and self-control. For 20 years, the psychologist Tatjana Schnell has been studying meaning in life on various levels and examining its effects on the stability of mental health. "In the current study, we looked at the way meaning in life affected people during the period of restrictive lockdown and immediately afterwards. Did people with a strong sense of meaning in their lives cope better with the situation?," says Schnell. "Our second major focus was on self-control: how well were people able to restrict their needs and adapt to the exceptional situation," she says about the study's objectives. In general, Schnell and Krampe found that older people showed higher resilience.

The data suggested that older participants had to struggle with significantly fewer negative psychological consequences than the younger: "Meaningfulness tends to increase with age; older people are often better able to adopt metaperspectives and thus benefit more from their life experience in terms of their psychological stability," the researchers conclude.

 

Values during lockdown better than afterwards

The first results of this study, which have now been published, clearly show that general mental distress was significantly increased during the first months of the pandemic. "People who had a strong sense of meaning in their lives, however, reported less severe mental distress overall. The ability of self-control - which is an important resource in terms of compliance with restrictions - was also beneficial to mental well-being. Both meaningfulness and self-control acted as a kind of buffer: they weakened the connection between COVID-19 stress and mental distress," Schnell explains. The scientists were also interested in the development over several months: "The problems were apparently less severe during the strict lockdown than afterwards. The ease of restrictions did not lead to an improvement of the psychological situation - in fact the opposite was true. Schnell and Krampe can only assume what the reason for this is: "Of course, one source of concern is economic losses. In addition, our data indicate a possible connection with the ambiguity of the situation: During the strict initial restrictions, the situation was clear to everyone. There were explicit guidelines and everyone was in the same boat, so to speak. This atmosphere has probably had a positive effect for many people". In the weeks following the lockdown, Schnell und Krampe registered both increasing crises of meaning and more severe psychological distress as well as a diminished sense of meaning in life and a deficiency in self-control. "We assume that self-control declined shortly after the lockdown - and seems to have continued declining, as we can observe in society - because the restrictions' purpose is less clear: In Austria and Germany, the measures have worked so well that the situation has not (yet) escalated, which leads one to question their meaning - the so-called prevention paradox. In addition, in recent months, communication by the authorities has become less explicit and comprehensible. But if the meaningfulness of the measures is not apparent, it is difficult for many people to maintain self-control in the long term," Tatjana Schnell points out.

Here Schnell and Krampe appeal once again to those responsible in politics: "If you want to achieve acceptance throughout society, you should act in a participatory manner. This implies that policy-making takes different perspectives into account, i.e. not only medicine and economics but also social sciences and the humanities. Moreover, democratic participation also means the active involvement of minorities and key interest groups. When this is successful, then self-control has less to do with obedience or resistance, but is a possible result of an informed personal decision".

###

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4156
Newswise: Stimulus Relief Funds Increase Social Distancing to Stop Spread of COVID-19
23-Nov-2020 5:20 PM EST
Stimulus Relief Funds Increase Social Distancing to Stop Spread of COVID-19
University of California San Diego

As case rates of COVID-19 reach new heights across the nation, many states and cities are tightening stay-at-home restrictions to stop the spread. New research suggests that that those suffering from economic hardships are less likely comply with new stay-at-home orders; however these same U.S. residents would be more likely to adhere to the new public health guidelines if their households received stimulus funds.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 1-Dec-2020 9:15 AM EST Released to reporters: 30-Nov-2020 2:30 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 1-Dec-2020 9:15 AM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise:Video Embedded covid-19-update-surge-preparedness-vaccine-distribution
VIDEO
Released: 30-Nov-2020 2:20 PM EST
COVID-19 Update: Surge Preparedness, Vaccine Distribution
Cedars-Sinai

With the novel coronavirus spreading across the U.S. at a record pace, Cedars-Sinai has been seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients at its hospitals and through its network of physicians. But the health system's leaders say Cedars-Sinai is prepared.

Released: 30-Nov-2020 1:20 PM EST
Rethink COVID-19 infection control to keep primary schools open this winter, governments urged
BMJ

An urgent rethink of infection control policies to keep COVID-19 infection at bay in schools is needed if primary schools are to be kept open this winter, and the knock-on effects on their families avoided, argue children's infectious disease specialists in a viewpoint, published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Newswise: Hackensack University Medical Center Urologists Continue to Provide State-of-the-Art Care During COVID-19
Released: 30-Nov-2020 12:45 PM EST
Hackensack University Medical Center Urologists Continue to Provide State-of-the-Art Care During COVID-19
Hackensack Meridian Health

Don’t Delay Your Care – Our dnhanced pandemic safety precautions prioritize patient health and allow providers to deliver outstanding in-office, telehealth and surgical care

Released: 30-Nov-2020 12:10 PM EST
Struggles of care home staff during COVID-19 first wave revealed in Whatsapp messages
University of Leeds

Analysis of social media messages between care home staff on the coronavirus front line reveal their growing concerns over how to manage in the face of the virus.

Released: 30-Nov-2020 11:30 AM EST
More than one-third of children with COVID-19 show no symptoms: study
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

More than one-third of kids who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, according to a University of Alberta study that suggests youngsters diagnosed with the disease may represent just a fraction of those infected.

Newswise: Promising lab results in quest to find naturally occurring anti-COVID therapies
24-Nov-2020 5:35 PM EST
Promising lab results in quest to find naturally occurring anti-COVID therapies
University of Alabama Huntsville

So far, 35 of 125 naturally occurring compounds identified computationally at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) to have potential against COVID-19 have shown efficacy in ongoing first-batch testing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (UTHSC RBL) that’s the next step in the process to becoming a drug.

Released: 30-Nov-2020 9:45 AM EST
Rutgers Leading Coronavirus Therapeutic Clinical Trial
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Rutgers is leading a clinical trial assessing the efficacy of a three-drug combination in treating people infected with SARS-CoV-2 and asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.


Showing results

110 of 4156

close
1.39791