Psycho-social factors associated with mental resilience in the Corona lockdown.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is not only a threat to physical health but is also having severe impacts on mental health. Although increases in stress-related symptomatology and other adverse psycho-social outcomes, as well as their most important risk factors have been described, hardly anything is known about potential protective factors. Resilience refers to the maintenance of mental health despite adversity. To gain mechanistic insights about the relationship between described psycho-social resilience factors and resilience specifically in the current crisis, we assessed resilience factors, exposure to Corona crisis-specific and general stressors, as well as internalizing symptoms in a cross-sectional online survey conducted in 24 languages during the most intense phase of the lockdown in Europe (22 March to 19 April) in a convenience sample of N = 15,970 adults. Resilience, as an outcome, was conceptualized as good mental health despite stressor exposure and measured as the inverse residual between actual and predicted symptom total score. Preregistered hypotheses (osf.io/r6btn) were tested with multiple regression models and mediation analyses. Results confirmed our primary hypothesis that positive appraisal style (PAS) is positively associated with resilience (p < 0.0001). The resilience factor PAS also partly mediated the positive association between perceived social support and resilience, and its association with resilience was in turn partly mediated by the ability to easily recover from stress (both p < 0.0001). In comparison with other resilience factors, good stress response recovery and positive appraisal specifically of the consequences of the Corona crisis were the strongest factors. Preregistered exploratory subgroup analyses (osf.io/thka9) showed that all tested resilience factors generalize across major socio-demographic categories. This research identifies modifiable protective factors that can be targeted by public mental health efforts in this and in future pandemics.
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00005/2)