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The role of mindfulness and life satisfaction in psychological distress during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Aotearoa/New Zealand: A quasi-experimental study

Abstract
By November 2021, almost every country and territory in the world had been affected by COVID-19. The virus has caused over 5 million deaths and more than 248 million cases worldwide. Fear of infection, grief, social isolation and financial concerns caused by the pandemic are triggering mental health conditions and exacerbating existing ones. Quantitative research on the psychological effects of lockdown conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic is needed to inform mental health interventions which aim to alleviate potential adverse effects. The goal of this study was to investigate psychological distress during the lockdown in Aotearoa/New Zealand. To achieve this goal, a longitudinal quasi-experimental research design using a sample (n = 81) who completed surveys on mindfulness, satisfaction with life and mental health indicators at three time-points, separated by at least two-week intervals was implemented. The sample was divided into two parts, the baseline group (n = 44) and the lockdown group (n = 37). The baseline group completed the surveys the first time prior to lockdown and mostly completed the second and third surveys during lockdown. The lockdown group mostly completed the survey for the first time during lockdown and the second and third surveys during or after lockdown. Mindfulness and satisfaction with life at baseline significantly predicted lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress during uncertain and emergency conditions before and during lockdown. The baseline group experienced significantly less anxiety and stress during lockdown compared to just prior to the lockdown (baseline condition). The results demonstrated that individuals who have higher levels of mindfulness and those with greater life satisfaction experienced significantly less depression, anxiety and stress over time, during both uncertain and emergency conditions such as during the threat of COVID-19. The finding of anxiety and stress reduction during lockdown may be specific to Aotearoa/New Zealand, as conditions differ in many ways from those in other countries. Preventative measures which increase mindfulness and satisfaction with life could help alleviate depression, anxiety and stress during uncertain and emergency conditions comparable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Type
Thesis
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Date
2021
Publisher
The University of Waikato
Rights
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