Psychological responses to outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome: a prospective, multiple time-point study

J Pers. 2005 Feb;73(1):261-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2004.00310.x.


This study examined anxiety and coping responses to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong. Trait anxiety, situation-specific coping strategies, and coping flexibility were proposed as predictors of state anxiety during the early phase of the SARS epidemic. Seventy-two Hong Kong undergraduates (31 men, 41 women) participated in a prospective, multiple time-point study. Participants' trait anxiety and coping flexibility had been assessed in an earlier study. Five months later, they reported their anxiety and coping at each of the four time points during the outbreak. Results revealed fluctuations in state anxiety across time points. Results from hierarchical linear modeling showed that trait anxiety as well as the situation-appropriate coping strategies of avoidance and personal hygiene practice accounted for changes in state anxiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires