The relationship between COVID-19 anxiety and anxiety disorder symptoms
COVID-19, pandemics, anxiety disorders
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased anxiety amongst the general population. Several scales have been developed to measure COVID-19 anxiety, including the Coronavirus 19 Phobia Scale (CP19-S), the Fear of Coronavirus Scale (FCV-19S) and the COVID Stress Scales (CSS). The present study examined if COVID-19 anxiety was associated with symptoms of specific anxiety-related disorders. A non-clinical university sample (N = 416) completed online measures of health anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms, along with the CP19-S, FCV-19S, and CSS. All three COVID-19 anxiety scales correlated with symptoms of each anxiety-related disorder, rs = .38 – .62. Three multiple regression analyses were conducted. Panic disorder symptoms were a unique predictor of COVID-19 anxiety on the CP19-S, p = .020, and FCV-19S, p = .018. Obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms predicted COVID-19 anxiety on the CP19-S, p < .001, and CSS, p < .001. However, health anxiety was the strongest predictor of COVID-19 anxiety on all three measures, ps < .001. The findings show that health anxiety, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms are particularly relevant to COVID-19 anxiety. Therapists with clients experiencing obsessive-compulsive, panic, or health anxiety symptoms may wish to screen for COVID-19 anxiety.
Presented on June 16, 2021 at the 82nd Canadian Psychological Association's National Annual Convention held virtually.
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