Changes in General and Virus-Specific Anxiety During the Spread of COVID-19 in Israel: A 7-Wave Longitudinal Study

Golan Shahar, Limor Aharonson-Daniel, David Greenberg, Hadar Shalev, Patrick S Malone, Avichai Tendler, Itamar Grotto, Nadav Davidovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We compared 3 hypothetical trajectories of change in both general and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-specific anxiety during the first wave of the spread in the state of Israel: Panic (very high anxiety, either from the outset or rapidly increasing), complacency (stable and low anxiety), and threat-sensitive (a moderate, linear increase compatible with the increase in threat). A representative sample of 1,018 Jewish-Israeli adults was recruited online. A baseline assessment commenced 2 days prior to the identification of the first case, followed by 6 weekly assessments. Latent mixture modeling analyses revealed the presence of 3 trajectories: 1) "threat-sensitivity"(29% and 66%, for general and virus-specific anxiety, respectively), 2) panic (12% and 25%), and 3) complacency (29% and 9%). For general anxiety only, a fourth class representing a stable mid-level anxiety was identified ("balanced": 30%). For general anxiety, women and the initially anxious-both generally and specifically from the spread of the virus-were more likely to belong to the panic class. Men and older participants were more likely to belong to the complacency class. Findings indicate a marked heterogeneity in anxiety responses to the first wave of the spread of COVID-19, including a large group evincing a "balanced"response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-62
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume191
Issue number1
Early online date11 Aug 2021
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Israel
  • anxiety
  • prospective study
  • trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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