Gender differences in mental distress and affect balance during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Spain

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
The COVID-19 pandemic is a major threat to the health and well-being of people around the world that has impacted freedom of movement, social interaction and the economy. The aim of the present work was twofold: frst, to study the presence of mental distress, positive and negative experiences and afect balance in women and men in Spain in two diferent phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, the initial 'frst state of alarm' phase, characterized by maximum restrictions, and in the 'new normal' phase with minimal restrictions, and second, to study the protective role of age, educational level, self-esteem, marital status and social support against mental distress, and as factors that increase the afect balance of women and men in the above mentioned phases of the frst wave of the COVID- 19 pandemic in Spain. The study sample consisted of 652 women and 652 men from the general population, aged between 18 and 88 years, who were evaluated through self-reports. Results show greater mental distress in women than men but, strikingly, the magnitude of such diferences were greater in the 'new normal' phase than in the maximum restriction phase. In addition, in this last phase, women also experienced more negative feelings and less afect balance than men. High self-esteem and social support were also found to be protective factors for mental health, both in women and men, during the two phases of the pandemic studied. In conclusion, our study shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has especially impacted the well-being of women.
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Matud, M. P., Zueco, J., Díaz, A., del Pino, M. J., & Fortes, D. (2022). Gender differences in mental distress and affect balance during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. En Current Psychology (Vol. 42, Issue 25, pp. 21790-21804). Springer Science and Business Media LLC.