Pandemic as a Challenge to Subjective Well-Being: Anxiety and Coping



Most research on the pandemic today assumes that this situation is stressful and requires coping. The aim was to study subjective well-being in the situation of the pandemic and its relationship to coping and anxiety about coronavirus. 409 people filled Satisfaction With Life Scale, Scale of Positive And Negative Experiences, situational version of COPE, checklists assessing anxiety of infection and anxiety of the negative consequences of the pandemic. The comparison groups were three samples of 98, 66 and 293 people who filled Satisfaction With Life Scale and Scale of Positive And Negative Experiences in 2017 and 2019. There was a lower level of positive emotions among respondents in a situation of self-isolation, but the same level of satisfaction with life and negative emotions. Anxiety about the pandemic is related to higher negative emotions only. Emotionally oriented coping strategies and mental disengagement are associated with a higher level of pandemic anxiety. Problem-oriented and active coping strategies are weakly associated with lower anxiety that could be explained by the lack of ready effective methods of resolving this new and uncertain situation. Anxiety associated with current, acute and imminent risk (such as risk of infection), concentration on emotions and acceptance may not be dysfunctional strategies, as they are not associated with deterioration in overall well-being. On the contrary, attempts to cope with anxiety regarding negative consequences of a pandemic by mental disengagement, substance use and denial are associated with a lower level of satisfaction with life.

General Information

Keywords: subjective well-being, quality of life, coping, pandemic, coronavirus, COVID-19

Journal rubric: Empirical Researches

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The study is supported by the Russian Science Foundation, project № 18-18- 00480 “Subjective indicators and psychological predictors of quality of life”.

For citation: Rasskazova E.I., Leontiev D.A., Lebedeva A.A. Pandemic as a Challenge to Subjective Well-Being: Anxiety and Coping. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2020. Vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 90–108. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2020280205. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Elena I. Rasskazova, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Neuro- and Patopsychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Senior Researcher,Mental Health Research Center, Senior Researcher, International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Dmitriy A. Leontiev, Doctor of Psychology, Leading Research Fellow, The Laboratory for Comparative Research in Quality of Life, National Research Tomsk State University, Head of International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation; Professor of Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Psychology, HSE University, Moscow, Tomsk, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Anna A. Lebedeva, PhD in Psychology, Researcher, The Laboratory for Comparative Research in Quality of Life, National Research Tomsk State University, Associate Professor: Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Psychology; Senior Research Fellow: International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation, HSE University, Tomsk, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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