As with previous pandemics, early findings suggest the COVID-19 pandemic and related containment measures are having a negative impact on mental wellbeing. This study compared the contribution of three factors to anxiety and wellbeing during the pandemic in June 2020. These factors were: i) Contextual factors (e.g. exposure to COVID-19, being a key worker, feeling lonely, etc); ii) Cognitive appraisals: perceived vulnerability to disease (PVD) and intolerance of uncertainty (IU); and iii) psychological flexibility (PF). 603 participants aged 18 or older completed an online survey of self-report measures. Hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated PVD, IU and PF predicted state anxiety, and IU and PF predicted mental wellbeing. Some, but not all of the contextual factors also predicted anxiety and wellbeing. The findings support cognitive appraisal theories and the PF model, lending support to an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) approach to public health during pandemics.

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Mallett, R., Coyle, C., Kuang, Y. & Gillanders, D. 2021, 'Behind the masks: A cross-sectional study on intolerance of uncertainty, perceived vulnerability to disease and psychological flexibility in relation to anxiety and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic', Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 22, pp. 52-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2021.09.003

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Last updated: 27 September 2022
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