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The Role of Adolescents’ Personal and Social Resources in Achieving Desired Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes during an Anxiety-Provoking Pandemic Outbreak

Abstract: Considering adolescents’ developmentally driven stressors and social needs, they may be particularly vulnerable to the anxiety associated with the public health and economic crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, they may have difficulty following the mandated contagion prevention directives. The current study focused on the role of adolescents’ positive personal resources (self-control, hope) and environmental resources (peer support) in two desired outcomes during the COVID-19 outbreak: wellbeing (i.e., maintaining/increasing positivity ratio) and contagion prevention behaviors (i.e., increasing handwashing). Path analysis was conducted using online survey data collected from a representative sample of 651 Israeli adolescents (ages 13–17). Positive resources were found to be both positively intercorrelated and negatively correlated with pandemic-related anxiety and positively with increased handwashing. Self-control correlated positively with social support, which, in turn, correlated positively with the positivity ratio (i.e., more positive than negative affects) and pandemic-related anxiety. Self-control and pandemic-related anxiety both correlated positively with increased prevention behavior. This study highlights the vital role of positive resources in achieving desired psychological and behavioral outcomes for adolescents during the anxiety-provoking pandemic. Beyond its theoretical innovation, this study offers practical value by focusing on malleable variables that could be the focus of dedicated interventions.
Keywords: COVID-19 / adolescents / positive personal resources / social resources / anxiety / handwashing

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