Simple technique can help build resistance to pandemic-related stress, worldwide study shows
An emotion regulation strategy that helps people shift their thinking about stressful situations has proven successful in alleviating emotional strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, new research shows. The method—known as “reappraisal”—was evaluated in a study involving researchers from across the globe led by Ke Wang, a doctoral candidate who studies at Harvard Kennedy School. The study’s findings, including that reappraisal “consistently reduced negative emotions and increased positive emotions” among participants, are detailed in a recent paper in Nature Human Behaviour. Harvard-affiliated authors include HKS Professor Jennifer Lerner, who is Ke’s primary advisor, Amit Goldenberg of Harvard Business School, and Charles Dorison of Northwestern University, who earned his PhD at HKS. The authors collected nearly 28,000 responses from participants in 87 countries, allowing them to evaluate emotional reactions to the pandemic among people in different circumstances and from different cultures. “The findings demonstrate the viability of creating scalable, low-cost interventions for use around the world to build resilience during the pandemic and beyond,” the authors wrote.
Also see: How reappraisal can help us cope with COVID-19 [Video]