Mental Health during the Early Stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic : A Hong Kong Study

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Original languageEnglish
Article number8957
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number15
Online published23 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022



This study addressed the impact on mental health and wellbeing in relation to views of the self, the world, and the future during the early stage of the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak. An online survey battery included the 21-item Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21), Subjective Happiness Scale, Self-Compassion Scale, Adult Hope Scale, and two specifically-written items measuring the valence quality and quantity of the impact of the pandemic. A total of 345 Hong Kong residents (54% females) responded; 17.1%, 24.7%, and 19.7% reported elevated levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, respectively. The prevalence of these issues was lower in this Hong Kong sample than reported in other COVID-19 studies, possibly due to the past experience of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Hong Kong in promoting the voluntary wearing of masks in public places and introducing social distancing measures during the early first wave of the pandemic. Correlational analyses showed associations between positive views about the self (higher self-compassion), the world (higher positive valence), and the future (more hope) and better mental health and psychological wellbeing (fewer depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms; more happiness). Regression analyses indicated a differential predicting power of the three views on the four selected mental health and psychological wellbeing indicators. Intervention programs to alleviate distress and/or promote better wellbeing should be matched to the specific problems encountered by the sufferers.

Research Area(s)

  • COVID-19, Hong Kong, hope, mental health, self-compassion, valence of event

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