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Cross-National Study of Worrying, Loneliness, and Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Comparison between Individuals with and without Infection in the Family

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Department of Health and Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Inland University of Applied Sciences, Hamarvegen 112, 2418 Elverum, Norway
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Faculty of Health Studies, VID Specialized University, 4306 Sandnes, Norway
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Faculty of Health and Behavioural Science, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
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Department of Occupational Therapy, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University, 0130 Oslo, Norway
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Faculty of Health Studies, VID Specialized University, 0370 Oslo, Norway
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School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
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Department of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University, 0130 Oslo, Norway
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alyx Taylor
Healthcare 2021, 9(7), 903; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9070903
Received: 7 June 2021 / Revised: 6 July 2021 / Accepted: 13 July 2021 / Published: 16 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Coronaviruses (CoV) and COVID-19 Pandemic)
Objective: The objective of this study was to examine differences in worry, loneliness, and mental health between those individuals infected by COVID-19 or having someone their family infected, and the rest of the population. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted in Norway, UK, USA, and Australia during April/May 2020. Participants (n = 3810) were recruited via social media postings by the researchers and the involved universities. Differences between those with and without infection in the family were investigated with chi-square tests and independent t-tests. Multiple regression analyses were used to assess associations between sociodemographic variables and psychological outcomes (worry, loneliness, and mental health) in both groups. Results: Compared to their counterparts, participants with infection in the family reported higher levels of worries about themselves (p < 0.05) and their family members (p < 0.001) and had poorer mental health (p < 0.05). However, the effect sizes related to the differences were small. The largest effect (d = 0.24) concerned worries about their immediate family. Poorer psychological outcomes were observed in those who were younger, female, unemployed, living alone and had lower levels of education, yet with small effect sizes. Conclusions: In view of the small differences between those with and without infection, we generally conclude that the mental health effects of the COVID-19 situation are not limited to those who have been infected or have had an infection within the family but extend to the wider population. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; cross-national study; loneliness; mental health; pandemic; social distancing; worry COVID-19; coronavirus; cross-national study; loneliness; mental health; pandemic; social distancing; worry
MDPI and ACS Style

Bonsaksen, T.; Leung, J.; Schoultz, M.; Thygesen, H.; Price, D.; Ruffolo, M.; Geirdal, A.Ø. Cross-National Study of Worrying, Loneliness, and Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Comparison between Individuals with and without Infection in the Family. Healthcare 2021, 9, 903. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9070903

AMA Style

Bonsaksen T, Leung J, Schoultz M, Thygesen H, Price D, Ruffolo M, Geirdal AØ. Cross-National Study of Worrying, Loneliness, and Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Comparison between Individuals with and without Infection in the Family. Healthcare. 2021; 9(7):903. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9070903

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bonsaksen, Tore, Janni Leung, Mariyana Schoultz, Hilde Thygesen, Daicia Price, Mary Ruffolo, and Amy Ø. Geirdal 2021. "Cross-National Study of Worrying, Loneliness, and Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Comparison between Individuals with and without Infection in the Family" Healthcare 9, no. 7: 903. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9070903

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