Resilience and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings from Minnesota and Hong Kong

Athena C.Y. Chan, Timothy F. Piehler, Grace W.K. Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Previous COVID-19 pandemic research has focused on assessing the severity of psychological responses to pandemic-related stressors. Little is understood about (a) resilience as a mental health protective factor during these stressors, and (b) whether families from Eastern and Western cultures cope differently. This study examines how individual resilience and family resilience moderate the associations between pandemic-related stressors and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress in two culturally distinct regions. 

Methods: A total of 1,039 adults (442 from Minnesota, United States, and 597 from Hong Kong) living with at least one family member completed an online survey about COVID-19-related experiences, mental health, individual resilience and family resilience from May 20 to June 30, 2020. Predictors of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms were examined separately using hierarchical regression analyses. 

Results: In both regions, pandemic-related stressors predicted higher symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Individual resilience and two domains of family resilience were associated with positive mental health. In Minnesota, higher levels of individual resilience buffered the negative relationship between pandemic-related stressors and depressive symptoms; higher levels of family communication and problem solving also buffered the negative relationship between pandemic-related stressors and stress symptoms. In Hong Kong, higher family-level positive outlook magnified the negative relationship between pandemic-related stressors and anxiety symptoms. 

Conclusions: Individual and family resilience is protective against the adverse psychological effects of pandemic stressors, but they vary across cultures and as exposure to pandemic-related stressors increases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-780
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume295
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Family resilience
  • Individual resilience
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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