Corresponding Author Information: Kathy Tehrani

Session Abstract: Background and Purpose: Several studies have analyzed the impact of uncertainty on one’s psychological well-being during COVID-19 (Satici et al., 2020; Smith et al., 2020). However, few included a mixed methods approach. The current study examined how well open-ended responses corresponded to an emotional coping measure. It was hypothesized those who expressed longevity uncertainty concerning COVID-19 would show significant differences in emotional coping compared to those who expressed aftermath uncertainty.

Subjects: The study included 222 undergraduate students (18 to 34 years; 181 women, 41 men); 11 reported identifying as agender, 1 as gender non-conforming, and 3 as non-binary. The sample included 37.8% White, 25.2% Hispanic/Chicano/Latinx, 23.0% African American/Black, 8.6% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1.8% Middle Eastern/South Asian, 1.4% Jewish, 1.4% Multiethnic, and .9% American Indian/Alaska Native participants.

Methods and Materials: Participants completed the Emotional Approach Coping scale (EAC; Stanton et al., 2000) and an open-ended question regarding concerns about COVID-19 in April 2020. The EAC measures emotional expression and processing. Two uncertainty constructs were developed from the open-ended question: (1) how long COVID-19 will last (i.e., longevity uncertainty); (2) life after COVID-19 (i.e., aftermath uncertainty). Each construct was compared to the emotional expression and processing scales using an independent t-test analysis.

Analyses and Results: The analysis revealed a significant difference in emotional expression coping among those who reported longevity uncertainty (M= 15.55, SD=5.48) and those who did not (M= 18.47, SD=5.72), t(219)=2.73, p=.007). There was no significant difference in emotional expression among those who did or did not report aftermath uncertainty t(219)=.98, p=.33.

Conclusions: The results suggest those who did not experience longevity uncertainty reported engaging in emotional expression more often. This highlights the usefulness in supplementing scales with open-ended questionnaires to further understand the diverse nature of uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presenters:

Kathy Tehrani | University of North Texas, Department of Psychology, Denton, Texas

Jabeen Shamji | University of North Texas, Department of Psychology, Denton, Texas

Alana Fondren | University of North Texas, Department of Psychology, Denton, Texas

Jonathon Redmond | University of North Texas, Department of Psychology, Denton, Texas

Nickita Pham | University of North Texas, Department of Psychology, Denton, Texas

Taylor Mcmillian | University of North Texas, Department of Psychology, Denton, Texas

Sharon Rae Jenkins | University of North Texas, Department of Psychology, Denton, Texas

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