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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected many aspects of people’s lives, including their mental health. To better understand its impact, the current study looked at how demographic features and beliefs about the pandemic influenced anxiety during this time. Participants included 221 residents of Michigan who predominantly identified as female and White. They completed the Adaptation to Social Stress Questionnaire, a 105-item self-report questionnaire developed to assess participant characteristics, ability to adapt to stress and opinions, beliefs, and experiences related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and two measures of anxiety (the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale). Pearson product-moment correlations and independent samples t-tests were used to determine the relationship between anxiety and other study variables. Results show that religious affiliation and older age were associated with lower anxiety scores while living in the subjects’ close environment as an infected individual was associated with increased anxiety. Interestingly, thinking someone was to blame for the pandemic, being angered by official message regulations, and not thinking lockdown measures were sufficient increased anxiety. This latter finding implies that, consistent with clinical theory, our beliefs about events are connected with our emotional experiences. Recommendations for clinical practice are noted, as it is imperative for clinicians to be consistent and direct regarding any protocol changes that may help minimize client anxiety. Lastly, considerations regarding transparent communication from leaders of organizations that are adjusting their policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed.
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