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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132 Citations (Scopus)
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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
Pages (from-to)875-882
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date27 May 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. British Journal of Health Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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


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