Loneliness before and after COVID-19: Sense of Coherence and Hope as Coping Mechanisms

Michal Einav, Malka Margalit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic posed a major threat to public health, with long-lasting consequences for the daily habits and practices of people around the world. The combination of hazardous health conditions and extensive changes to people’s daily routines due to lockdowns, social restrictions, and employment uncertainty have led to mental health challenges, reduced levels of subjective wellbeing, and increased maladaptive behaviors and emotional distress. Nevertheless, some studies have reported increased adaptive functioning and resilience after the pandemic, suggesting a more complex pattern of effects. The goals of the current study were to explore the role of two coping variables, sense of coherence and hope, in people’s emotional wellbeing and adaptation in dealing with loneliness before and after such a stressful period. In a cross-sectional study, 974 Israeli participants (sample 1: 540 participants before the pandemic; sample 2: 434 participants after the pandemic restrictions) answered online questionnaires about their loneliness, hope and sense of coherence levels before and after the pandemic. While the two groups did not differ in their levels of hope, the participants in the group before COVID-19 reported lower levels of loneliness and sense of coherence. However, the results also indicated that although the COVID-19 pandemic was related to increased levels of loneliness, the participants’ sense of coherence mediated this increase and their levels of hope moderated it. The theoretical contribution of these findings is discussed, as well as interventional implications and future directions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5840
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • coping resources
  • hope
  • loneliness
  • sense of coherence

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