From the Journals

Worry over family, friends the main driver of COVID-19 stress


Demographic biases

Commenting on the findings for Medscape Medical News, Golnaz Tabibnia, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the research, suggested that although higher resilience scores were associated with lower COVID-related worries, it is possible, “as the authors suggest, that having more resilience resources makes you less worried, but the causality could go the other direction as well, and less worry/rumination may lead to more resilience.”

Dr. Golnaz Tabibnia

Also commenting on the study for Medscape Medical News, Christiaan Vinkers, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist at the Amsterdam University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, said it was noteworthy that healthcare providers reported similar levels of mood and anxiety symptoms, compared to others.

“This is encouraging, as it suggests adequate resilience levels in professionals who work in the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Resilience occurs not only at the individual level but also at the community level, which may help explain the striking differences in COVID-19-related worries and anxiety between participants from the United States and Israel, Vinkers added.

E. Alison Holman, PhD, professor, Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing, University of California, Irvine, noted that respondents were predominantly white, female, and had relatively high incomes, “suggesting strong demographic biases in those who chose to participate.”

Dr. Alison Holman

Holman, who was not involved with the study, told Medscape Medical News that the “findings do not address the real impact of COVID-19 on the hardest-hit communities in America – poor, Black, and Latinx communities, where a large proportion of essential workers live.”

Barzilay acknowledged that, “unfortunately, because of the way the study was circulated, it did not reach minorities, which is one of the things we want to improve.”

The study is ongoing and has been translated into Spanish, French, and Hebrew. The team plans to collect data on diverse populations.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Lifespan Brain Institute of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Penn Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, and in part by the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program. Barzilay serves on the scientific board and reports stock ownership in Taliaz Health. The other authors, Golnaz, Vinkers, and Holman have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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