Specific Pandemic-Related Worries Predict Higher Attention-Related Errors and Negative Affect Independent of Trait Anxiety in UK-Based Students

Journal article


Brown, C., Feng, Y., Costin, V., Hirsch, C., Wang, Y., Wang, Y., Chew, J., Kenny, J. and Allen, P. (2022). Specific Pandemic-Related Worries Predict Higher Attention-Related Errors and Negative Affect Independent of Trait Anxiety in UK-Based Students. Cognitive Therapy and Research. 47, pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-022-10336-7
AuthorsBrown, C., Feng, Y., Costin, V., Hirsch, C., Wang, Y., Wang, Y., Chew, J., Kenny, J. and Allen, P.
Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many individuals experiencing increased symptoms of anxiety. We predict that this increase may be underpinned by pandemic-related worry (PRW), characterised by repetitive negative thinking about pandemic-specific outcomes; and that this relationship is mediated through reduced attentional capacity required to regulate negative affect.
Methods: We developed a novel scale to measure the contents of PRW in an initial sample of 255 participants, and explored its relationship with cognitive functioning and negative affect in a sample of 382 UK-based university students, whilst controlling for recalled pre-pandemic trait anxiety.
Results: A five-factor model of PRW was identified, with factors reflecting worry about decline in quality of life (QoL) and probability of infection correlating with attention and memory-related errors. Importantly, attention-related errors partially mediated the positive relationship between PRW and negative affect, even when controlling for pre-pandemic trait anxiety. Conclusion: PRW’s relationship with negative affect was partially mediated through attentional function, consistent with models of anxiety and attentional control. In UK-based students PRW may be predominantly focused on the decline in QoL; therefore, interventions targeting worry about the decline in QoL caused by COVID-19 are especially important in this population in the wake of the pandemic.

KeywordsQuality of life · Anxiety · Attentional control · Worry · Pandemic-related worry · COVID-19
Year2022
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Journal citation47, pp. 1-19
PublisherSpringer
ISSN1573-2819
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-022-10336-7
Web address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10608-022-10336-7
Publication dates
Online20 Oct 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted29 Sep 2022
Deposited04 Jun 2024
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
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