Associations between social COVID-19 exposure and psychological functioning

Malwina Lewicka, Jada G. Hamilton, Erika A. Waters, Heather Orom, Elizabeth Schofield, Marc T. Kiviniemi, Peter A. Kanetsky, Jennifer L. Hay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health have been widely reported, but less is known about how the impact of COVID-19 on others in one’s social circle shapes these high distress levels. This study examines associations between social COVID-19 exposure—knowing someone who had a COVID-19 infection—and psychological functioning, as well as whether socio-demographic factors moderate these relationships. In June 2020, respondents (N = 343) from clinics in Tampa, Florida, U.S.A. reported whether they had social COVID-19 exposure, anxiety, depression, and stress, and other COVID-19-related concerns. Social COVID-19 exposure was associated with increased anxiety, stress, and concerns about a family member getting sick, and concerns about drinking and substance use. Several associations between exposure and psychological functioning were stronger in women, younger people, and people with lower income, implying these groups face elevated psychological risks due to the pandemic, and should be prioritized in mental health recovery efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-482
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Work was supported in part by the Participant Research, Interventions and Measurement Core at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute; an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center (P30-CA076292). This work was supported by grants from the American Cancer Society (RSG-14-162-01-CPHPS) and the National Cancer Institute Ponce Health Sciences University-Moffitt Cancer Center Partnership (U54 CA163068). This research was also supported by NCI P30 CA008748 (Thompson). ML was further supported by T32CA00946 (Ostroff).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 concerns
  • Exploratory factor analysis (EFA)
  • Moderation analyses
  • Psychological functioning
  • Social factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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