COVID Anxiety: Who Worries More and What They Worry About

Some people are very worried about COVID-19, but some people worry much less, and people tend to worry more about others than about themselves.

Who Worries More, Who Worries Less?

Researches show that the level of anxiety is significantly associated with demographic factors and perceptions regarding the COVID-19 epidemic.

For instance, researchers identified people who tend to worry more about COVID:

  • people with pre-existing concerns about contamination

  • people who suffer from chronic illness

  • people with certain underlying medical conditions

  • people who have children and are being married or cohabiting

  • women reported higher anxiety

  • older people were cognizant of poorer prognosis if infected

In comparison, males who are younger, less educated, and people who are traditional risk takers were least likely to adopt appropriate preventive measures in protecting themselves and others against COVID-19.

What Do People Worry About?

Research findings imply that people are more anxious about others than about themselves, their anxiety about relatives is higher than about strangers, and anxiety about health is higher than about financial issues.

A possible explanation for why people worry more about others than about themselves, according to researchers, could be the optimism bias, which is a cognitive bias that causes someone to believe that they themselves are less likely to experience a negative event.

The optimism bias is seen in a number of situations. For example, people believing that they are less at risk of being a crime victim, smokers believing that they are less likely to contract lung cancer or disease than other smokers, first-time bungee jumpers believing that they are less at risk of an injury than other jumpers, or traders who think they are less exposed to potential losses in the markets.


Sources consulted:

Marta Malesza, Magdalena Claudia Kaczmarek. 2021. "Predictors of anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland." Personality and Individual Differences, 170: 110419

Y. Maaravi, B. Heller. 2020. "Not all worries were created equal: the case of COVID-19 anxiety." Public Health, 185: 243-245.


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