Do we cope similarly with different adversities? COVID-19 versus armed conflict – Israel – ReliefWeb

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BMC Public Health volume 22, Article number: 2151 (2022) Cite this article

Abstract

Background

Varied populations may react differently to similar crises, depending on their social, cultural, and personal backgrounds; conversely, the same populations may respond differently to varied adversities. The current study aimed to examine three types of resilience (individual, community, and societal resilience) predicting six coping mechanisms (sense of danger, anxiety and depressive symptoms, well-being, hope, and morale) among the same sample of people that faced across two different adversities—COVID-19 and an armed conflict.

Methods

Two repeated measurements of the same Israeli sample (N = 593) were employed, through an internet panel. The research variables were examined through a structured, quantitative questionnaire that consisted of nine scales, based on validated and reliable questionnaires.

Results

Results indicated that: (a) respondents reported more difficulties in coping with the COVID-19 crisis, compared to the armed conflict, in all variables but morale. (b) similar patterns of correlations among the study variables were found in both measurements. (c) path’s analysis indicated similar patterns of prediction of distress and well-being by individual and societal resilience. Use of the coping mechanism varied depending on the perception of the threat: COVID -19 is perceived as a less familiar and predictable adversity, which is harder to cope with, compared with the more familiar risk – an armed conflict, which is a recurrent threat in Israel. The correlations between the investigated psychological responses and the impacts of resilience on the coping and distress mechanism were similar in both adversities.

Conclusions

The results indicate that respondents tend to react in a similar pattern of associations among resilience, distress, and well-being across different adversities, such as COVID and armed conflict. However, individuals tend to regard unfamiliar, less predictable adversities as more complex to cope with, compared to better-known crises. Furthermore, respondents tend to underestimate the risks of potential familiar adversities. Healthcare professionals must be aware of and understand the coping mechanisms of individuals during adversities, to appropriately design policies for the provision of medical and psychological care during varied emergencies.

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