2022-03-10Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19063290
Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perceived Changes in Psychological Vulnerability, Resilience and Social Cohesion before, during and after Lockdown
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have posed unique and severe challenges to our global society. To gain an integrative understanding of pervasive social and mental health impacts in 3522 Berlin residents aged 18 to 65, we systematically investigated the structural and temporal relationship between a variety of psychological indicators of vulnerability, resilience and social cohesion before, during and after the first lockdown in Germany using a retrospective longitudinal study design. Factor analyses revealed that (a) vulnerability and resilience indicators converged on one general bipolar factor, (b) residual variance of resilience indicators formed a distinct factor of adaptive coping capacities and (c) social cohesion could be reliably measured with a hierarchical model including four first-order dimensions of trust, a sense of belonging, social interactions and social engagement, and one second-order social cohesion factor. In the second step, latent change score models revealed that overall psychological vulnerability increased during the first lockdown and decreased again during re-opening, although not to baseline levels. Levels of social cohesion, in contrast, first decreased and then increased again during re-opening. Furthermore, participants who increased in vulnerability simultaneously decreased in social cohesion and adaptive coping during lockdown. While higher pre-lockdown levels of social cohesion predicted a stronger lockdown effect on mental health, individuals with higher social cohesion during the lockdown and positive change in coping abilities and social cohesion during re-opening showed better mental health recovery, highlighting the important role of social capacities in both amplifying but also overcoming the multiple challenges of this collective crisis.
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