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Stress and Coping in a Self-Isolated Family during COVID-19 Pandemic 449
Objective. To find out the level of stressfulness of inside family isolation in Russia; coping with the negative effects of a pandemic, fear and isolation. Background. The situation of a health threat causes unexpected stress enhancing the fear of getting infected, uncertainty, anxiety. The coronavirus disease outbreak has introduced special demands: to lockdown not to get infected. But it also “triggers” adaptive coping behavior. It`s suggested that situation-adequate coping, as well as close relationships based on support, reduce the effects of coronavirus threat. Domestic violence and its effects (physical abuse, mental illness, PTSD) negatively affect family relationships, maybe as deadly as the coronavirus, require immediate prevention. Study design. A mini-longitudinal empirical study was conducted online at the beginning (27.03.2020—12.04.2020) (N1=248) and in the second half of lockdown (28.04.2020—03.05.2020) (N2=310). The role of stressors in changing family relationships has been correlated with the impact of catching COVID-19 threat and self-isolation on the psychological state of family members. Participants. 558 volunteers aged 18—87, including 425 women and 117 men; the majority of them (66%) have their own family — 369 are married/in a relationship; work. Measurements. A questionnaire created by the authors on the basis of international projects assessing impact of stress and self-isolation on family relationships, standardized anxiety and depression scales; coping scales. Results. Negative outcomes of the threat of infection and isolation are reduced if coping is adequate, emotional support from family members, and their views on the necessary daily changes are consistent. Stress levels are higher in single people. Having a partner is important for ways of coping choice. Conclusions. Stress generating from the threat of catching virus/COVID-19 experienced by people during lockdown in close/family relationships is normative as long as they use coping strategies, adequate to the situation (acceptance, positive reappraisal) with a low frequency of choosing less adequate strategies.
Keywords: family, close relationships, stress, threat of catching coronavirus, anxiety/depression, emotional support, coping-strategies
Column: Empirical Research
The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project N 18-013- 01005, Ministry of Higher Education and Science assignment FZEW-2020-0005.
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