B3957 - Investigating the impact of anxiety on coping strategies during a pandemic - 27/01/2022

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Claire Haworth | University of Bristol (UK)
Ms. Amalita Vacher, Ms. Nina Di Cara
Title of project: 
Investigating the impact of anxiety on coping strategies during a pandemic
Proposal summary: 

The unprecedented national lockdowns in 2020/21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic gave many reasons for people to experience increased levels of stress and anxiety driven by potential factors such as fear of illness or death, social isolation, losing jobs and loss of autonomy. To manage the negative experiences of situations like this, people commonly engage in coping strategies to reduce their perceived stress. Potential coping strategies include engaging in exercise, changes in eating, drinking and smoking patterns, social interaction and engagement with news, media reports and conversation related to the pandemic.
We aim to investigate whether there is a relationship between the level of anxiety experienced early in the first UK lockdown and participants subsequent coping behaviours. Did those with higher levels of anxiety at the start of lockdown engage in different coping strategies to those less anxious? Furthermore, how does engaging in certain coping strategies impact levels of anxiety later in the pandemic? Through this further investigation, inferences can be made about how well certain coping strategies work for individuals with different levels of anxiety.

Impact of research: 
If the patterns of coping can be understood for different levels of anxiety then interventions can be adapted accordingly for those with high, medium and low anxiety levels. There is a need to address the protective coping mechanisms, employed during times of negative affect created by national lockdowns, so that appropriate policies and programs can be developed, whilst mitigating maladaptive strategies. Understanding who is at risk of engaging in maladaptive coping mechanisms will allow for future interventions to be made for those most vulnerable. Not only will this research elucidate patterns of coping during pandemics but also provide a foundation for future research into coping strategies for more general experiences of negative affect.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 15 December, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 27 January, 2022
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Statistical methods, Psychology - personality, Social science