ORIGINAL PAPER
Fear of COVID-19 as a buffer in the relationship between perceived stress and life satisfaction in the Polish population at the beginning of the global pandemic
 
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Institute of Psychology, Opole University, Opole, Poland
Submission date: 2020-07-15
Final revision date: 2020-09-09
Acceptance date: 2020-10-23
Online publication date: 2020-12-26
Publication date: 2020-12-26
 
Health Psychology Report 2021;9(2):149–159
 
KEYWORDS
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ABSTRACT
Background:
COVID-19 is a significant threat to human life and health. It makes people experience fear, stress, anxiety and mood disor-ders, which have a negative impact on their psychological well-being. The aim of the study was to determine the relation-ship between fear of COVID-19, perceived stress, and life satisfaction during the coronavirus pandemic.

Participants and procedure:
907 Polish people (522 women and 385 men) participated in this study. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FOC-6) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) were used in the study.

Results:
Fear of COVID-19 and perceived stress were positively correlated with each other and both negatively related to life satis-faction. Moderation analysis showed that fear of COVID-19 acted as a buffer between perceived stress and life satisfaction – people with a high level of fear of COVID-19 and perceived stress had greater life satisfaction than those with high levels of stress but low levels of fear of COVID-19.

Conclusions:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people experience significant stress and fear of infection, which negatively affect their life satisfaction. It can be assumed that during a global pandemic, most stressors are not directly linked to the risk of infection. Loss of job, isolation, lack of social support, or a total change in lifestyle may be more threatening to the well-being than the risk of infection, which many people do not consider as dangerous. Therefore, it can be assumed that people who expe-rience a strong fear of COVID-19 may perceive inconveniences resulting from restrictions as less oppressive than people who do not feel fear.

 
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