A looming mental health pandemic in the time of COVID-19? Role of fortitude in the interrelationship between loneliness, anxiety, and life satisfaction among young adults

April 8, 2021

Tyrone Pretorious, Anita Padmanabhanunni

SAGE

Pretorius et al. investigated the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on mental health. They examined the relationship between life satisfaction, anxiety, and loneliness in relation to fortitude, or ability to manage stress, among 332 randomly sampled young South African adults from a university in the Western Cape Province. Each participant completed four questionnaires (UCLA Loneliness Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Scale, Satisfaction with Life scale, Fortitude Questionnaire) throughout the lockdown period between March – June 2020. The mean score for loneliness was 49.1 (71.8% of the students to be considered lonely) and for anxiety was 48.1 (73.3% considered to have high anxiety), both of which were higher than in previous studies. Life satisfaction was reported as 20.0, also lower than previous means, indicating that the pandemic impacted and diminished respondents’ feeling of life satisfaction. Statistically significant differences between men and women were found with men reporting lower mean loneliness and anxiety scores than women. Fortitude had no moderating effect in the relationship between loneliness and anxiety, however loneliness was reported to be associated with fortitude. These results indicate that predictor variables of loneliness and anxiety mediate the effect of fortitude on the outcome variables. These findings are critical to guide the public health response to address the mental health consequences of the pandemic. This study can serve as useful platform to support future research about mental health and the impact of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa and other countries.

Pretorius T, P¬¬admanabhanunni A. A looming mental health pandemic in the time of COVID-19? Role of fortitude in the interrelationship between loneliness, anxiety, and life satisfaction among young adults. South African J Psychol 2021. DOI:10.1177/0081246321991030.

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