Investigating a psychological model of mental conditions and coping during the COVID-19 pandemic driven by participatory methods

S. K. Simblett*, S. Jilka, S. Vitoratou, C. Hayes, D. Morris, E. Wilson, C. Odoi, M. Mutepua, J. Evans, E. Negbenose, S. M. Jansli, G. Hudson, A. Adanijo, E. Dawe-Lane, V. Pinfold, T. Wykes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: There is evidence of increased mental health problems during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We aimed to identify the factors that put certain groups of people at greater risk of mental health problems. Methods: We took a participatory approach, involving people with lived experience of mental health problems and/or carers, to generate a set of risk factors and potential moderators of the effects of COVID on mental health. An online cross-sectional survey was completed by 1464 United Kingdom residents between 24th April and 27th June 2020. The survey had questions on whether respondents were existing mental health service users and or carers, level of depression (PHQ9) and anxiety (GAD7), demographics, threat and coping appraisals, perceived resilience (BRS), and specific coping behaviours (validated as part of this study). The relationship between responses and coping strategies was measured using tetrachoric correlations. Structural equation modelling was used to test the model. Results: A model significantly fit our data (rel χ2 = 2.05, RMSEA = 0.029 95%, CI (0.016, 0.042), CFI = 0.99, TLI = 0.98, SRMR = 0.014). Age and coping appraisal predicted anxiety and depression. Whereas, threat appraisal and ethnicity only predicted anxiety, and resilience only predicted depression. Additionally, specific coping behaviours predicted anxiety and depression, with overlap on distraction. Conclusions: Some, but not all, risk factors significantly predict anxiety and depression. While there is a relationship between anxiety and depression, different factors may put people at greater risk of one or the other during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2491-2501
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number12
Early online date21 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Coping
  • COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Participatory methods


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