Psychological Contents of Anxiety and the Prevention in an Infodemic Situation: Protection against Coronavirus or the “Vicious Circle” of Anxiety?



The paper studies the relationship of the anxiety of different types in the situation of the pandemic with the search for information about coronavirus and with protective actions. This research included 409 respondents uninfected by coronavirus aged 18 to 64 years old within a period of three weeks to one month from the start of self-isolation. The participants have appraised the severity of their anxiety caused by various reasons associated with the pandemic, the frequency of monitoring the information and communications about coronavirus, and the frequency of different protective actions against coronavirus. As a result, two aspects have been identified in the structure of the anxiety about coronavirus: the fear of the infection and anxiety about negative consequences. The fear of the consequences of the pandemic is characteristic of every third person, and it does not depend on sex and age. In one out of 11—12 persons, it is the experience that interferes with usual activities. A pronounced fear of infection was found in one person out of 5—10 respondents; it is more characteristic of women and older people. In addition to the infection prevention strategies, 10.8% of the variance of the infection anxiety and 10.6% variance of the anxiety about the negative effects of the pandemic predicts information monitoring, communications about the pandemic and usage of optional but common protection strategies and ambiguous strategies. The obtained results are consistent with our supposition that deliberate control of the information stream and unverified strategies of the protective behavior may contribute to reducing the anxiety in the situation of the pandemic while preserving the protective actions that have been found to be effective.

General Information

Keywords: pandemic, coronavirus, anxiety, protective behavior, infodemia

Journal rubric: Empirical Researches

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project number 20-013-00799.

For citation: Tkhostov A.S., Rasskazova E.I. Psychological Contents of Anxiety and the Prevention in an Infodemic Situation: Protection against Coronavirus or the “Vicious Circle” of Anxiety?. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2020. Vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 70–89. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2020280204. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Aleksandr S. Tkhostov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Professor, Head of Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Moscow State University Lomonosov, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

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:



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