This study examined the impact of being in lockdown, perceived COVID-19 symptomatology and exposure to COVID-19 risk representations on state depressive, anxious and stress symptomatology in a UK sample based on data from 348 participants. In this between-subjects experiment, individuals were randomly assigned to view either a video focusing on the high mortality rate during the initial phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK (COVID-19 risk news) or a news video about the Eden reforestation project focusing on planting trees to address the impact of climate change (control condition). Results showed no effect of being in lockdown on depressive symptomatology but did show an effect of the video condition on depression. Moreover, those with perceived COVID-19 symptomatology exhibited higher levels of state depressive, anxious and stress symptomatology. Overall, results suggest that, while accurate risk appraisal is important, health communication concerning COVID-19 must inform, reassure and empower people to take effective action against the pandemic.
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- social representations