Anxiety and COVID-19

Has COVID-19 negatively impacted your life? Is it making you anxious? You’re not alone.

The worldwide spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has caused pervasive anxiety and fear as world nations were not ready for the physical, emotional, and financial burden connected with the rise in virus cases (Shoychet et al., 2022, p. 1). The COVID-19 pandemic has played its role in a global rise in mental health concerns including “COVID-19 anxiety,” which involves fear of contracting or spreading the virus. In their study, Shoychet et al. (2022) investigated possible moderators of the relationship among COVID-19 anxiety and (a) day-to-day functioning and (b) quality of life, to find out who is most at risk for these negative outcomes. A survey conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (2021, as cited in Shoychet et al., 2022) stated that, at a minimum, one in five Canadian adults went through heightened mental distress 12 months into the pandemic and that COVID-19 notably aggravated Canada’s pre-pandemic mental health crisis. Additionally, Robillard et al. (2021, as cited in Shoychet et al., 2022) determined that close to one half and one third of their Canadian sample (N = 2,562) that did not have a psychiatric history had clinically relevant levels of depression and generalized anxiety disorder, respectively.

Health locus of control (HLOC) refers to the degree to which an individual makes internal versus external attributions concerning the causes of personal health outcomes (Shoychet et al., 2022, p. 2). Those experiencing COVID-19 anxiety might fare better if they maintain strong beliefs concerning their ability control their personal health outcomes. In other words, those who are high in internal HLOC might be able to decrease their COVID-19 anxiety by following public health guidelines, which includes wearing a mask or limiting proximal social contact. On the other hand, those who believe that they do not maintain control over personal health outcomes (e.g., low internal HLOC) but rather believe that their health status is reliant on external, uncontrollable forces (i.e., high external HLOC) will not be able to depend on these behaviors to mitigate anxiety. Although the implementation of firm public health regulations was effective in decreasing case numbers during Canada’s third wave of COVID-19, these implementations might have worsened negative psychological outcomes (p. 9).

If you’re afraid of COVID-19, my suggestion is to wear a mask when necessary and to get vaccinated in accord with the present public health orders. If you’re anxious about COVID-19, let’s talk about it in video therapy from the comfort of your own home. Book your free consultation today by sending me a message at

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Shoychet, G., Lenton-Brym, A. P., & Antony, M. M. (2022). The impact of COVID-19 anxiety on quality of life in Canadian adults: The moderating role of intolerance of uncertainty and health locus of control. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science / Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement. Advance online publication.