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Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

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Journal of Women's Health

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DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2023.0253


Background: Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety with rates increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic. This study sought to understand how women's intersecting identities, personal strengths, and COVID-19–related stressors were associated with their anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms early in the pandemic.

Methods: During May–June 2020, American women (N = 398) recruited via MTurk completed an online questionnaire assessing mental health (PTSD, anxiety, and depression), demographic characteristics, personal strengths (coping, hope, social support), and experiences with COVID-19–specific stressors.

Results: Women who had a child younger than 18 years of age, lived in rural or urban areas (compared with suburban), and identified as sexual minority reported increased levels of PTSD, depression, and anxiety symptoms. Social support and hope (Agency) were associated with fewer mental health symptoms. Engagement in maladaptive coping and greater perception of COVID-19 threat and perceived stress was associated with more PTSD, depression, and anxiety symptoms. COVID-19–related illness events and difficulty accessing living essentials were associated with increased anxiety symptoms. COVID-19–related disruption to living and income were associated with increased PTSD symptoms. Loneliness was associated with increased anxiety and depression symptoms.

Conclusions: Results of this study can inform prevention and intervention efforts to address depression and anxiety among women with intersecting identities during times of stress. Specifically, supporting the development of women's resilience and adaptive coping and intervening to address maladaptive coping strategies, such as drinking, provide paths to supporting women's mental health.


Accepted version. Journal of Women's Health, Vol. 32, No. 11 (November 2023): 1166-1173. DOI. © 2023 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Used with permission.

Available for download on Friday, November 01, 2024

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