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Open AccessArticle

Self-Control Moderates the Association Between Perceived Severity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Mental Health Problems Among the Chinese Public

1
Department of Early Childhood Education, Center for Child and Family Science, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
2
Department of Applied Psychology, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou 510006, China
3
Department of Psychology and Research Center of Adolescent Psychology and Behavior, School of Education, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4820; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134820
Received: 22 May 2020 / Revised: 1 July 2020 / Accepted: 2 July 2020 / Published: 4 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused thousands of deaths in China. Prior research suggests that individuals’ perceived severity of COVID-19 is related to a range of negative emotional and behavioral reactions among the Chinese public. However, scant research has examined the underlying mechanisms. Drawing upon the risk-resilience model, this study proposes that self-control, as a resilient factor, would potentially moderate the association between perceived severity of COVID-19 and mental health problems. Data from a national survey was used to examine this idea. Participants were 4607 citizens from 31 regions in China (Mage = 23.71 years, 72.5% female) who completed a national survey at the beginning of February 2020. Results of hierarchical regression showed that after controlling for a number of demographic variables, perceived severity of COVID-19 and self-control were positively and negatively related to mental health problems, respectively. More importantly, self-control moderated the “perceived severity of COVID-19–mental health problems” association, with this link attenuating as the levels of self-control increased. These findings suggest that compared to those with high self-control, individuals with low self-control are more vulnerable and are more in need of psychological aids to maintain mental health in the encounter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Practically, enhancing individuals’ self-control ability might be a promising way to improve individuals’ mental health during the early period of the COVID-19 outbreak. View Full-Text
Keywords: risk factor; resilience; cognitive appraisal; self-control; COVID-19; public health concerns risk factor; resilience; cognitive appraisal; self-control; COVID-19; public health concerns
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Li, J.-B.; Yang, A.; Dou, K.; Cheung, R.Y.M. Self-Control Moderates the Association Between Perceived Severity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Mental Health Problems Among the Chinese Public. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4820.

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