Longitudinal predictors of depression, anxiety, and alcohol use following COVID-19-related stress

Lisa Venanzi, Lindsay Dickey, Haley Green, Samantha Pegg, Margaret M. Benningfield, Alexandra H. Bettis, Jennifer Urbano Blackford, Autumn Kujawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic imposed profound effects on health and daily life, with widespread stress exposure and increases in psychiatric symptoms. Despite these challenges, pandemic research provides unique insights into individual differences in emotion and cognition that predict responses to stress, with general implications for understanding stress vulnerability. We examined predictors of responses to COVID-19-related stress in an online sample of 450 emerging adults recruited in May 2020 to complete questionnaires assessing baseline stress and psychiatric symptoms, rumination, cognitive reappraisal use and intolerance of uncertainty. Stress and symptoms were re-assessed 3 months later (N = 200). Greater pandemic-related stressful events were associated with increases in symptoms of depression, anxiety and alcohol use severity. Additionally, individual differences in emotional and cognitive styles emerged as longitudinal predictors of stress responses. Specifically, greater rumination predicted increased depression. Reduced cognitive reappraisal use interacted with stress to predict increases in alcohol use. An unexpected pattern emerged for intolerance of uncertainty, such that stress was associated with increases in depression for those high in intolerance of uncertainty but increases in alcohol use at relatively low levels of intolerance of uncertainty. These results highlight unique vulnerabilities that predict specific outcomes following stress exposure and offer potential prevention targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStress and Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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