Background. Initial psychological papers on COVID-19, mental health and well-being mostly focus on the aftermath lockdown-related stress and stress related to the disease itself. Still, we presume that personal well-being can be resistant to stressors depending on the way the person is settled in their life.
Objective. We seek to reconsider the contribution of lockdown-related stressors to existential well-being, to assess existential well-being during the outbreak and to compare the contribution of living conditions and COVID-19-related factors on well-being.
Design. An online survey was conducted during the peak of the outbreak in Moscow (April-May 2020) (N=880). The data was obtained using the “Test of Existential Motivations” questionnaire and a series of questions addressing (1) living conditions — mental and physical health, employment, and social distancing; (2) COVID-19-related stressors — non-chronic illness, financial losses, and unavailability of goods or services; (3) sociodemographic indicators — age, gender, and income. Data analysis included hierarchical multiple regression, one-sample t-test, and analysis of variance.
Results. Surprisingly, the existential well-being of Moscow citizens during the research period was moderate. Each of the three groups of factors predicted a similar proportion of the variance of well-being (3-3,9%). The strongest predictors of well-being were long-term mental health status and financial stability. The effect of COVID-19-related stressors was most pronounced when they co-occur.
Conclusion. The negative association between lockdown-related stressors and poor well-being is not universal. It is necessary to study the effect of COVID-19-related stressors in combination with individual living conditions and region-specific factors and to focus on the prevention of the occurrence of stressors.
Keywords: Well-being/ existential psychology/ COVID-19 pandemic in Russia/ COVID-related stressors/ mental health/ existential fulfillment