COVID-19-Related Anxiety Predicts Somatic Symptoms in the UK Population

M Shevlin, Emma Nolan, Marcin Owczarek, Orla McBride, Jamie Murphy, Jilly Gibson Miller, Todd K Hartman, Liat Levita, Liam Mason, Anton P Martinez, Ryan McKay, Thomas VA Stocks, Kate M Bennett, Philip Hyland, Richard P. Bentall

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Abstract

This study aimed to estimate the association between anxiety associated with COVID-19 and somatic symptoms, using data from a large, representative sample (N = 2,025) of the UK adult population. Results showed that moderate to high levels of anxiety associated with COVID-19 were significantly associated with general somatic symptoms and in particular with gastrointestinal and fatigue symptoms. This pattern of associations remained significant after controlling for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), pre-existing health problems, age, gender, and income. This is the first evidence that anxiety associated with COVID-19 makes a unique contribution to somatization, above and beyond the effect of GAD.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Early online date27 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • COVID-19 related anxiety
  • somatic symptoms

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    Shevlin, M., Nolan, E., Owczarek, M., McBride, O., Murphy, J., Gibson Miller, J., Hartman, T. K., Levita, L., Mason, L., Martinez, A. P., McKay, R., Stocks, T. VA., Bennett, K. M., Hyland, P., & Bentall, R. P. (2020). COVID-19-Related Anxiety Predicts Somatic Symptoms in the UK Population. British Journal of Health Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12430