Social support and acute stress symptoms (ASSs) during the COVID-19 outbreak: deciphering the roles of psychological needs and sense of control

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Xiao Zhou & Benxian Yao

https://doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2020.1779494

Abstract

Background: Acute stress symptoms (ASSs) are likely to be a common mental health problem in the acute period following the 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) outbreak. To address this risk, substantial social support has been provided to relieve ASSs during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the effectiveness of these support methods for relieving ASSs has not yet been assessed.

Objective: The current study sought to examine the underlying mechanisms by which social support relieves ASSs, among primary and secondary school teachers.

Method: A sample of 751 primary and secondary school teachers was selected to answer self-reported questionnaires regarding ASSs, social support, psychological needs, and the sense of control.

Results: Structural equation modelling revealed that social support had a non-significant direct relationship with ASSs, and a significant indirect relationship with reduced ASSs via the needs for autonomy and relatedness, and via the paths from three types of psychological needs to the sense of control.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that social support can play a relieving role in ASSs when the support satisfies individuals’ psychological needs and improves their sense of control. To alleviate ASSs among primary and secondary school teachers, more attention should be paid to satisfying their specific psychological needs and improving their sense of control.

Received 27 Apr 2020, Accepted 26 May 2020, Published online: 08 Sep 2020

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