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Identifying resilience factors of distress and paranoia during the COVID-19 outbreak

We are pleased to have Gerit Pfuhl from UiT The Arctic University of Norway back at the IMC for an interesting IMC Seminar via Zoom. All are welcome.

2020.11.17 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Date Tue 01 Dec
Time 11:00 12:30
Location Zoom meeting ID 563 610 6271



Millions of people had to change their way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce the spread of the virus, governments have restricted social life habits ranging from physical distancing to enforcing isolation. As of now, we do not know whether the benefits of these countermeasures outweigh anticipated mental health problems from reduced social contact and physical activity. 

We conducted two observational studies to investigate the effects of these countermeasures on the psychological well-being of participants at the height of the first wave and three months later in five countries. General distress was strongly related to financial worry, maintaining a regular schedule and thriving (belonging to the community). Paranoia was strongly related to distress, belief in conspiracy theories and trust in authorities.

Furthermore, general distress and paranoia was higher in Brazil, Colombia, and Israel than in Norway and Germany. Across the five countries participants reported similar thriving and belonging however their trust in authorities varied. Also those who stated that their country overreacted - COVID-19 restrictions (NPIs) - had lower scores on “Thriving”. Our data indicates that trust on government and scientists and thriving likely contribute to resilience, i.e. lower distress and paranoid thinking and are thereby key resilience factors of mental health during a pandemic.

Please tune in on Zoom with the meeting ID above - All are welcome. 

About the speaker

Gerit Pfuhl has previously been a visiting researcher at the IMC and is the PI of a lab that is working on a wide range of topics relating to the human mind. Please see the Gerit Pfuhl Lab website for more infomation: https://sites.google.com/view/geritpfuhl-lab/home