ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (7): 886-894.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00886

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


李世峰, 吴艺玲, 张福民, 许琼英(), 周爱保()   

  1. 西北师范大学心理学院, 兰州 730070
  • 收稿日期:2020-02-10 出版日期:2020-07-25 发布日期:2020-05-25
  • 通讯作者: 许琼英,周爱保;
  • 基金资助:
    * 国家自然科学基金(31660281)

Self-affirmation buffering by the general public reduces anxiety levels during the COVID-19 epidemic

LI Shifeng, WU Yiling, ZHANG Fumin, XU Qiongying(), ZHOU Aibao()   

  1. School of Psychology, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2020-02-10 Online:2020-07-25 Published:2020-05-25
  • Contact: XU Qiongying,ZHOU Aibao;


当个体知觉到环境中存在威胁时, 就会自动地引发个体的应激反应。而长期的应激会使个体产生一系列严重的心理和身体健康问题。大量的研究发现肯定自我价值可以缓冲由应激引发的负面情绪和身体反应。本研究通过实验的方法考察了肯定自我价值是否可以降低新冠肺炎(COVID-19)疫情引发的焦虑和抑郁情绪反应。220名被试被随机分配到自我价值肯定任务组或控制任务组, 被试在干预前(2月2日)和一个星期后(2月9日)完成焦虑和抑郁测量。研究结果发现相对于控制组在一周后比前测时表现出更严重的焦虑情绪, 自我价值肯定组在前测和一周后在焦虑情绪上没有显著的变化, 这一效应在控制了性别、年龄、受教育水平和家庭年收入后仍然存在。这些结果表明简短的(约10分钟)对自我价值的反思可以帮助个体缓冲疫情引发的焦虑情绪反应。这一发现对于从社会心理的视角进行疫情防护提供了重要的科学证据。

关键词: 新冠肺炎(COVID-19), 应激, 自我肯定, 焦虑, 抑郁


In December 2019, an outbreak of a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) occurred in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. COVID-19 is characterised by fever and severe acute respiratory symptoms in early stages, which can rapidly progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome that is associated with high mortality. As of 9 February 2020, 40171 cases have been confirmed cumulatively and 23589 suspected cases were collected in China. The wide and rapid spread of COVID-19 has intensely captured public attention, leading to increased mental health stress. Timely mental health care and intervention during the outbreak of COVID-19 is urgently needed not only for confirmed or suspected patients and frontline medical workers, but also for the general public.
Previous studies showed that af?rmation of personal values can buffer psychological stress responses in various threat situations. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether an intervention involving re?ection on personal values was capable of buffering psychological stress responses during the outbreak. We recruited 220 participants who completed a questionnaire on their personal values. Those in the self-affirmation group were asked to choose and write their thoughts and feelings of a personal value that made them feel important to themselves while those in the control condition were asked to do the same for a personal value that they thought was important to others. Both groups completed a Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) prior to and 7 days after intervention.
We used two-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) to evaluate the buffer effect of value af?rmation on stress responses with time of assessment as a within-subjects factor and intervention group as a between-subjects factor for anxiety and depression. Our results revealed a significant relationship between time and intervention for the reduction of anxiety. Further simple effect analysis demonstrated that the control group showed heightened levels of anxiety 7 days after intervention compared with before, whereas participants who af?rmed their values did not show any increase. This effect remained significant after controlling for sex, age, educational level, and annual family income. However, no significant differences were found for depression.
The present study demonstrates for the first time that an experimental intervention involving the af?rmation of personal values can buffer psychological stress response during the COVID-19 epidemic. Specifically, participants who affirmed their values did not show increased levels of anxiety compared with control participants. Self-affirmation is easy to accomplish since it does not require professional guidance or a distinct environment and occupies little time, it would be a convenient strategy for the public to cope with psychological stress during the outbreak.

Key words: COVID-19, stress, self-affirmation, anxiety, depression