The moderating effects of reported pre-pandemic social anxiety, symptom impairment, and current stressors on mental health and affiliative adjustment during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic
MetadataShow full item record
Background and objectives Individuals with social anxiety (SA) have well-established fears of being negatively evaluated and exposing self-perceived flaws to others. However, the unique impacts of pre-existing SA on well-being and interpersonal outcomes within the stressful context of the pandemic are currently unknown. Design In a study that took place in May 2020, we surveyed 488 North American community participants online. Methods We used multiple linear regression to analyze whether retrospective reports of pre-pandemic SA symptoms predicted current coronavirus anxiety, loneliness, fears of negative evaluation, use of preventive measures, and affiliative outcomes, and whether pre-pandemic functional impairment and recent COVID-related stressors moderated these relations. Results Results highlighted the negative effects of pre-pandemic SA on current mental health functioning, especially for participants with higher pre-pandemic functional impairment and greater exposure to COVID-related stressors. Although participants with higher pre-pandemic SA reported currently feeling lonelier and more fearful of negative evaluation, they also endorsed greater efforts to affiliate with others. Conclusions High SA individuals may have heightened desire for social support within the isolating context of the pandemic, in which COVID-related social restrictions enable greater avoidance of social evaluation but may also mask the enduring impairment associated with pre-pandemic SA.
Cite this version of the work
Jolie T.K. Ho, David A. Moscovitch (2021). The moderating effects of reported pre-pandemic social anxiety, symptom impairment, and current stressors on mental health and affiliative adjustment during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17465