Volume 13 (04)
Buxin Han (China)
COVID-19: PSYCHOLOGICAL CHALLENGES
Background. Situations that are characterized by unexpected scenarios, unpredictable developments, and risks to life and health facilitate beliefs in conspiracy theories. These beliefs – together with reliable information, intentional and unintentional misinformation and rumors – determine attitudes toward the situations and ways to overcome them.
Objective. To examine the effect of belief in conspiracy theories on the recognition of the need for quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic; the effect of personality traits on belief in conspiracy theories and on the recognition of the need for quarantine; the relationship of belief in conspiracy theories with assessment of the dangers of COVID-19 and with feelings of hopelessness.
Design. The study was conducted over a period when the number of coronavirus cases was growing, during the first three weeks of the lockdown in Russia. The sample included 667 undergraduate and graduate students aged 16–31 (M = 20.44, SD = 2.38); 74.2% of the participants were women. Respondents filled out two online questionnaires. The first related to perceptions about the COVID-19 pandemic; the second was a brief HEXACO inventory.
Results. Belief in Conspiracy Theories accounts for 13% of variance in Recognition of the Need for Quarantine; together with Dangers of COVID-19 and Hopelessness, conspiracy beliefs account for more than a quarter of the variance. Personality traits defined in the context of the 6-factor personality model have a small effect on conspiracy beliefs about the coronavirus and on perception of the need for quarantine.
Conclusion. Belief in conspiracy theories is associated not only with irrational views of reality, but also with the adoption of ineffective behaviors.
Keywords: COVID-19, conspiracy theories, quarantine, dangers of the coronavirus, hopelessness, HEXACO
Background. The necessity to introduce digital technologies in education and in the professional training of journalism students in particular has been widely discussed in the theory and practice of education over the past 20 years. From the point of view of both future research and training, it becomes very important to study the development of journalists’ professional competencies and professional identity in the online environment.
Objective. To study the experience of distance learning by students in the faculty of journalism at Lomonosov Moscow State University during the period of restrictive measures in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic (Spring 2020).
Design. A two-stage empirical project studied the opinions of students about distance learning, to identify its effectiveness for the formation of professional competencies and identity. In the first stage, a qualitative (investigative) study was conducted on a small sample using semi-formalized tools. In the second stage, a formal survey was conducted on a representative sample (N = 576).
Results. We found that in order to achieve the social, educational, and cognitive presence necessary for effective online education, an important condition is the communication environment and stable communication among all participants: students, professors, and academic departments. However, the communicative environment of the traditional training process is not transferred to the online environment in its original form. With Internet technologies, it is difficult to provide a strong teaching presence, which is a catalyst for the development of social and cognitive presence and a key component of traditional professional training. In the online learning mode, students are overloaded with self-study and written assignments, and mastering the necessary professional knowledge, competencies, and skills becomes their own responsibility.
Not all components of the traditional educational process (types and forms of classes, educational materials, etc.), remain effective when transferred to the online environment.
Conclusion. The formation of professional competencies, as well as the social, cognitive, and behavioral components that determine the further development of professional identity, is difficult in distance education. Online learning cannot be regarded as a full-fledged alternative to the traditional higher professional education of journalists.
Keywords: professional identity, journalism students, online learning, teaching presence
Background. This study is based on self-determination theory and the research on dispositional optimism and unrealistic optimism. Dispositional optimism is known to be protective of well-being and is related to adaptive coping strategies. Investigations related to unrealistic optimism, on the other hand, revealed that they may have both positive and negative consequences.
Objective. To investigate dispositional optimism and two kinds of specific optimism as predictors of autonomous motivation to follow stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic in a sample of Russian young adults: constructive optimism, meaning belief in the role of effort; and defensive optimism, meaning unrealistic expectations and denial that a problem exists.
Design. A correlational (cross-sectional) study was conducted to measure adherence to the recommendation to stay at home, autonomous motivation, dispositional optimism, constructive optimism, and defensive optimism. An online survey was completed by 1,403 young adults (68% women) during the first month of lockdown.
Results. The findings demonstrate that constructive optimism and its underlying dispositional optimism predict both autonomous motivation and adherence to the recommendation to stay at home, while defensive optimism produces the opposite, undermining effects. Structural equation modeling revealed the effect of gender on adherence to the recommendation (higher in women), mediated by different types of optimism and autonomous motivation.
Conclusion. Dispositional optimism together with situation-specific constructive and defensive types of optimism are essential for explaining the health-related behavior and its motivation. These results contribute to self-determination theory, considering the role of personality factors in determining motivation.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, constructive optimism, defensive optimism, dispositional optimism, autonomous motivation, stay-at-home orders, gender, well-being
Background. The COVID-19 pandemic has subjected people around the world to severe stress, evoking a variety of coping responses. Coping responses can be broadly classified into four strategies: 1) problem-focused coping; 2) emotion-focused coping; 3) socially supported coping; and 4) avoidance. While there is a wide variability of individual coping responses, to some extent they are also culturally specific.
Objective. This study aimed to compare the differences in the prevalence and factor structure of coping responses during COVID-19 pandemic in three countries: Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Peru.
Design. The sample included 501 participants from Russia, 456 participants from Kyrgyzstan, and 354 participants from Peru. The mean age of participants was 28 years in Russia (SD = 13.5); 24 years in Kyrgyzstan (SD = 10.0); and 30 years in Peru (SD = 12.3). In Russia and Kyrgyzstan, coping strategies were assessed with an abbreviated Russian adaptation of the COPE (Coping Orientations to Problems Experienced) questionnaire. In Peru, coping responses were assessed using the Spanish version of the Brief COPE questionnaire. The average scores from fifteen COPE scales were used as the input data for linear modelling and factor analysis.
Results. The coping scores varied substantially within each country. Differences between countries accounted for 17.7% of the total variability in religious coping; 15.8% in acceptance; 13.9% in mental disengagement; and less than 7% in the other coping strategies. No difference in the prevalence of coping responses was found between Russian and Kyrgyz participants after accounting for age and gender. In all three countries the coping responses were associated with the same four coping domains: problem-focused coping, socially supported coping, avoidance, and emotion-focused coping. Four factors explained up to 44% of the total variation in the COPE scores. Religious coping and mental disengagement were classified into different coping domains in the three countries.
Conclusion. The results suggest that during the COVID-19 pandemic, people from different countries apply the full range of coping responses within the four universal coping strategies. Religious coping and mental disengagement differed the most across the countries, suggesting that some coping behaviors can take on different roles within the system of coping responses to stressful events. We attribute these differences to differing cultural and socioeconomic characteristics, and the different measures taken by governments in response to COVID-19.
Keywords: coping behavior; coping strategies; COPE; cross-cultural differences; factor structure
Background. The COVID-19 outbreak and the measures taken to curb it have changed people’s lives and affected their psychological well-being. Many studies have shown that hardiness has reduced the adverse effects of stressors, but this has not been researched in the Russian COVID-19 situation yet.
Objective. To assess the role of hardiness and meaningfulness as resources to cope with stress and minimize its effects on psychological well-being.
Design. The study was conducted March 24–May 15, 2020 on a sample of 949 people (76.7% women), aged 18–66 years (M = 30.55, Me = 27, SD = 11.03). The data was divided into four time-periods, cut off by the dates of significant decisions by the Russian authorities concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The questionnaires were: Beck Anxiety and Depression Inventories, Symptom Check-list-90-R, Noetic Orientations Test, and Personal Views Survey-III.
Results. Welch’s ANOVA showed significant differences between the time-periods in meaningfulness, hardiness, anxiety, depression, and the General Symptomatic Index (GSI) (W = 4.899, p< 0.01; W = 3.173,p < 0.05; W = 8.096,p < 0.01; W = 3.244,p < 0.022; and W = 4.899,p < 0.01, respectively). General linear models for anxiety, depression, and GSI showed that biological sex, chronic diseases, self-assessed fears, and hardiness contributed to all of them. In all three models, hardiness had the most significant impact. Anxiety was also influenced by the time factor, both in itself and in its interaction with hardiness levels. With less hardiness, more anxiety occurred over time.
Conclusion. Hardiness was shown to be a personal adaptive resource in stressful situations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: hardiness, meaningfulness, anxiety, depression, pandemic, COVID-19
Background. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented social and health emergency worldwide. Cross-cultural research on mental health during this situation is needed to better understand its consequences.
Objective. To evaluate the different psychological impacts of the crisis and lockdown situation during the first six weeks of COVID emergency measures in samples of the Spanish and Russian populations.
Design. A cross-sectional study was conducted through an online survey (NSpain=1041; NRussia=743). The prevalence of loneliness, depression, anxiety, perceived discrimination (PD), internalized stigma (IS),and perceived social support (PSS) was evaluated. Chi-square tests and t-tests were administered. The Enter Method were used to identify the predictors of the mental health impact.
Results. Differences were found between the Russian and the Spanish populations. While the degrees of anxiety and depression did not differ significantly, loneliness, the alienation dimension of IS, and PD were more pronounced in the Russian respondents. In Spain, the predictor of less negative impact was PSS from various sources, while in Russia we only found PSS from the family.
Conclusion. Although in both countries the impact at the clinical level seemedto be similar, differences werefound at the psychosocial level. Variables with a strong cultural component may bekey to determining the means of alleviatingthe effects of the crisis, with PSS being a fundamental protective factor. More cross-sectional studies are needed to understand the impact of the pandemic in depth.
Keywords: COVID-19; loneliness; mental health; perceived discrimination (PD); internalized stigma (IS); perceived social support (PSS)
Background. The economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic pose a threat to psychological well-being in different spheres of life. In accordance with Self-Determination Theory, it is assumed that working conditions during a pandemic frustrate the psychological needs of people in the workplace, thereby increasing their alienation.
Objective. To study the influence of working conditions on work alienation among employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. As factors of working conditions, we studied workplace distancing (isolation), temporary flexibility of work, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), and job insecurity.
Design. The study had a correlation design, used a survey, and consisted of two parts. The first part studied a sample of 62 university professors for dynamics of work alienation at three periods of time. The second part studied 104 subjects for the effect of workplace distancing (isolation), temporary flexibility, ICT, and job insecurity on work alienation.
Results. In the first part of the study, it was found that work alienation increased during the pandemic. The second part showed that workplace distancing, temporary flexibility of work, ICTs, and job insecurity are significant predictors of work alienation among university professors.
Conclusion. Changes in working conditions during a pandemic have negative consequences for employees in the form of alienation from work. This finding can have practical application in recommendations for organizations planning structural changes or transfer of employees to telecommuting.
Keywords: work alienation, working conditions, temporary flexibility of work, information and communication technologies, job insecurity, COVID-19
Background. COVID-19 has revealed the diversity of cultural characteristics and mentalities of different countries: every people living through the pandemic interprets the means of overcoming the crisis in their own way, in accordance with their historical experience and cultural traditions.
Objective. The purpose of this study (April 2 - May 2, 2020) was to identify the influence of cultural factors and the context of residence (living in their own country or in another culture as a migrant) on how people perceive and experience a pandemic.
Design. The study involved 605 people: 402 Russian-speaking respondents (221 migrants living outside their countries) and 203 representatives of other cultures (165 Spaniards and 38 migrants from different countries).The main research method was a survey using a specially prepared questionnaire (in four languages – Spanish, English, German, and Russian).
Results. Cultural factors had a strong influence on how a people experienced a pandemic. Respondents from European and other cultures (non Russian speakers) were very intolerant of dissent in the fight against the pandemic; showed an increase in patriotism; and demonstrated increased readiness for an operational response to the situation through a change of activity. Russian-speaking respondents showed great loyalty to different positions and different behaviors during pandemic situation; expressed the desire to wait out the pandemic and quickly return to their usual way of life; their main preventive measure was self-isolation, which was considered an opportunity for the development of something new. The perception of a pandemic by migrants differed from its perception by the indigenous population.
Conclusion. Common to all representatives of the international sample were the ideas of necessary international cooperation and universal responsibility to overcome the pandemic. But the cultural factors and having a migrant’s status had a strong influence on the perception and experience of the pandemic, which depends on the mentality and historical experience in different countries.
Keywords: COVID-19; perception and experience of pandemic situation; ethnopsychology; cultural features; migrant status
Background: A number of studies from different countries have been devoted to studying the psychological state of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the severity of the symptoms of the disease itself, the situation of uncertainty can negatively affect the patients’ psychological well-being. .
Objective: Our research aimed to explore ways for patients with COVID-19 to regulate their emotional state during hospitalization, and how they can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Design: The research involved 127 people hospitalized due to confirmed COVID-19: 67 men (52.8%) and 60 women (47.2%), ages 19 to 77 years (M = 43.34, Me = 42, SD = 11.81). We used a set of questionnaires which included the Beck Depression Questionnaire; the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale; the Perceived Social Support Questionnaire (22-item); theCognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire ; and the Dembo-Rubinstein self-assessment scales.
Results: Twenty-five and four-tenths percent (25.4%) of the participants had severe symptoms of anxiety, and 24.13% had symptoms of depression. Women showed higher symptoms of depression than men. ANOVA showed no significant differences in the use of emotion regulation strategies in patients being hospitalized at different intervals, or in patients of different age groups. Factor analysis made it possible to distinguish three patterns of emotion regulation: 1) adaptive cognitive change; 2) fixation on negative experiences; and 3) deflection of responsibility. Significant positive correlations were found between symptoms of depression and anxiety, and coping by fixation on negative experience only.
Conclusion: Although various means of cognitive emotion regulationr by patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are currently being presented, these strategies are not associated with significant reductions in their symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Keywords: anxiety; depression; pandemic; COVID-19; regulation of emotion; coping with the disease
Background. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought dramatic changes to all spheres of life. These changes have triggered an immediate response from the media, including social media, which repeatedly posts not only up-to-date information about this most relevant issue, but also users’ reactions to it, including Internet memes.
Objective. The research presented in this article focused on comparing the psychological and ethnocultural sensitivities in the perception of COVID-19memes by young people in Russia and China.
Design. The selected sample contained 108 respondents (n = 108), comprised of 50 Chinese and 58 Russian university students. The study consisted of two procedures: a survey and a student’s t-test on the perception of specific Internet memes.
Results. The main results were that memes which evoke a positive response from the respondents and cheer them up were scored the highest. Such qualities as relevance, kindness, cheerfulness, creativity, meaningfulness, and thought-provoking ability were rated high. Each group of respondents gave a higher score to “our own” memes and a lower score to the other group’s memes. It is generally typical of the Chinese to have a more positive perception of reality. We ascertained a tendency towards polarization of opinions and focus on individualization among the Russian respondents, whereas the Chinese respondents strove for orderliness and consensus.
Conclusion. As a whole, COVID-19 memes in such ethnoculturally different audiences as the Russians and Chinese serve a compensatory function for young people, helping them overcome the hardships of the pandemic through the memes’ relevance and creative character.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; media; Internet; memes; perception; young audience
Background. In a pandemic situation, the search for psychological resources for successful self-organization of life under the changing conditions becomes an urgent issue. Revealing the role of a person's conscious activity to achieve such self-organization during the lockdown period is the goal of this study.
Objective. Our main task was to monitor self-assessments of life self-organization in different age groups. Another was to evaluate the extent to which conscious self-regulation contributes to the success of self-organization, to overcoming its difficulties, and to accepting the uncertainty of the future.
Design. The data were obtained online on the Testograf platform (www.testograf.ru), which was provided by the all-Russian research project “Exploring at home!” (www.issleduemdoma.ru), a study which ran from late April to early June 2020. The sample was comprised of 1634 people, ages 18-60, from 69 regions of Russia. The methods were “Morosanova’s Self-regulation Profile Questionnaire – SRPQM 2020” and the authors’ ad hocquestionnaire “Self-organization of life during a lockdown.”
Results. The majority of respondents assessed their level of self-organization as medium (67.6%) and high (17.3%). The general level of self-regulation was associated with successful self-organization in all age groups. Regression analysis revealed that being able to cope with and accept uncertainty depended primarily on flexibility, persistence, planning goals, and modeling conditions. Overcoming the difficulties of self-organization depended on the same indicators, with additional contributions of reliability and programming of actions. Students demonstrated significantly lower levels of self-regulation than older people; as a result, young people experienced more difficulties in organizing their lives under self-isolation conditions.
Conclusion. The higher the level of conscious self-regulation, the more productive a person is when self-organizing his/her behavior in case of a lockdown. The difficulties of self-organization, in turn, are associated with a low level of regulatory resources.
Keywords: coronavirus; COVID-19; conscious self-regulation; self-organization; age
Background. The COVID-19 outbreakhas threatened both the physical healthof individualswho contracted the virus, and the mental health of everyone directly or indirectly associated with or concerned about it.
Objective. As telecommunication technologies and online mental health apps become more available and affordable, they allowbehavioral and mental health professionalsto provide quality care by handling problems arising from the COVID-19 outbreakvirtually. The aim of the current article is to summarizethe online psychological assistancesupported by the Chinese governmentduring the epidemic.
Design. Several measures, policies, action plans, and programs that have been underway in China during the COVID-19 outbreak epidemicare listedto provide guidance formental health interventionpractices around the world.
Results. A total of seven types of mental health services and supports developed in China were listed andintroduced: 1) online psychological assistance;2) online psychological self-assessment and self-help; 3) a “Peace ofMind” self-help counseling camp; 4) a “Peace ofMind” self-help training camp; 5) mental health training and lectures; 6) psychological assistance to Hubei; and 7) collaboration with social workersin“Thousands of Institutions Send Peace ofMind.”Moreover, several areas forthe organization and management of psychological intervention activities in the futurewere identified.
Conclusion. Mental health interventions helped peoplecopewith their mental health concerns duringthe outbreak of COVID-19. They couldfacilitatethe development of Chinese public emergency interventions, and eventually improve the quality and effectiveness of emergency interventions in China.
Keywords: COVID-19; China; mental health; emergency interventions; psychological assistance
Background. Digital socialization is understood to be mediated by all available digital technological processes for mastering and appropriating a social experience online. Understanding of this new type of socialization requires studying parental mediation strategies for children’s online activity, as well as the level of digital literacy of both children and parents, including through the prism of adolescents’ confrontation with online risks.
Objective. To study digital socialization and the role of parents in this process; to reveal relationships between parental user activity, mediation, and digital competence, and adolescents’ user activity, digital competence, and experience of online risks.
Design. The study was conducted on the basis of the EU Kids Online 2017–2019 survey methodology. The sample consisted of 1,553 schoolchildren aged 12–17 and 1,219 parents of adolescents the same age, all from the Russian Federation.
Results. The findings show that parents underestimate the online risks faced by adolescents, especially the most common communication and content online risks. Adolescents often do not notice parental “restrictive” and “active“ mediation of their online activities. Adolescents’ request for parental help with their online difficulties depends not on the parents’ digital competence, but on their active mediation. In following parental active mediation and safety mediation strategies, adolescents are more likely to face online risks, but at the same time they use active coping strategies. The negative relationship between the adolescents’ digital competence and parental restrictive mediation and technical control suggests that excessive control and limitations hinder the development of knowledge and skills in the safe mastering of the Internet.
Conclusion. The digital gap between adolescents and parents is observed both in confrontation with online risks and awareness of this experience, and in the application of parental mediation strategies. Parental active mediation provides stronger digital socialization and more constructive ways of coping with the threats of the digital world – online risks, which are the consequence of deep immersion into this world.
Keywords: digital socialization, adolescents, parental mediation, digital competence, online risks
Background. Visuospatial working memory changes across years of schooling. According to data from the cross-sectional and longitudinal studies available in the literature, conclusions about the linear or nonlinear nature of changes in visuospatial working memory depend on the period of time analyzed and the frequency of the measurements. However, which of the two nonlinear models of functional dependence (e.g., quadratic or cubic) best describes the developmental trajectories of visuospatial memory across schooling is still an open question.
Objective. The results of statistical analysis of the development of visuospatial working memory in girls and boys across school years from Grade 1 to Grade 11 are presented. Additionally, the relationship between age and years of schooling is investigated, as is the influence of these factors on the developmental trajectory of visuospatial working memory.
Design. This cross-sectional study involved 1,246 pupils who were in Grades 1 to 11 at one public school; their ages ranged from 6.8 to 19.1 years (50.4% were boys). The students’ visuospatial working memory was measured using the computerized “Sequences” test, which is based on the “Corsi block-tapping task” and has been adapted for Russian schoolchildren. Correlations, dispersion analysis, and polynomial regression were carried out, and both linear and nonlinear models of the functional dependence of working memory on years of schooling were tested.
Results. The results of the multiple regression analysis suggest that number of years of schooling is a more important factor than age with regard to temporal changes in visuospatial working memory. When we introduced “years of schooling” and “age” predictors into a single model, we found the year of schooling to be the most significant predictor of visuospatial working memory (β = 1.07;p = 0.000).While age remained a statistically significant predictor (β = -0.52;p = 0.008), it did not significantly improve the model characteristics (corrected R2 = 0.30; F(2) = 253.9; p<0.01).
The results of the polynomial regression showed that during schooling, the developmental trajectories of visuospatial working memory are nonlinear for both genders. In girls, both the quadratic and cubic models explained 36% of the variance in visuospatial working memory, but the quadratic model had the least number of parameters and the best fit to data. In boys, despite all theoretical models being suitable, the largest percentage of the variance in visuospatial working memory values was explained using the cubic model (R2= 0.31; p = 0.000). Thus, the characteristic of change in visuospatial working memory for girls had a quadratic relationship that stabilized after Grade 8, while for boys, the relationship was cubic, with the period of stabilization between Grades 5 and 6, and then further growth.
Conclusion. We concluded that the number of years of study is an important factor in the development of visuospatial working memory during the schooling period, but that there are other factors involved as well.
Keywords: visuospatial working memory; school education; grade; age; cross-sectional study; polynomial regression; gender differences