IMPORTANCE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL PREPAREDNESS, HARDINESS, SELF-EFFICACY FOR OVERCOMING COVID-19 ANXIETY.

GOING BACK TO SCHOOL?


“Corona’s notoriety creates anxiety, but I find it an opportunity to build my immunity.”

The havoc created by the Covid-19 pandemic has given rational reasons to be fearful of it. Closed since March 2020, schools have a tough challenge ahead to welcome students wholeheartedly yet “meticulously” to make academics a smooth and joyful social experience.

As a student, you may be experiencing negative thoughts relentlessly galloping in your brain. The oddity and awkwardness of rejoining school may be as awry as detachment from your beloved school almost 2 years back. Covid-19 protocols remain as stringent today as they were yesterday for your health and safety. To strengthen the effects of these viable protocols, your powerful mind needs to be “prepared” and “hard” with the “belief” that you can defeat the merciless coronavirus. This can be done by understanding the concepts of Psychological Preparedness, Hardiness, and Self-Efficacy to overcome your deep-seated anxiety.

Psychological Preparedness and its Benefits-

According to Reser and Morrissey (2009), psychological preparedness is achieved through multiple cognitive processes. These involve concern, anticipation, arousal, feelings, intentions, decision-making, and management of one's thoughts, feelings, and actions.

A combined effect of the above-mentioned processes results in “psychological hardiness” to deal with the imminent threat causing anxiety. This preparedness replaces the “emotional shock” given by unforeseen dangers with hardiness acting as a “learned, growth-oriented personality buffer” (Maddi, 2006). This preparedness aids in regulating fear associated with the unknown, imminent threat (anxiety), thereby creating scope for rational thinking and action.

Hardiness and its Constituents-

Kobasa (1979) found hardiness to be a complex of three psychological ingredients- “a sense of control (the perception of an ability to influence external situations, despite the presence of multiple contingencies of life), commitment (persistence in the chosen field, irrespective of escalating stress levels), and a challenge perspective (the perception that change, not stability is normal in life. Anticipation of changes is the precursor to growth and not an ultimatum to security.)

Benefits of Hardiness-

Learning or training causes hardiness to become a personality style, thereby aiding in “transformational coping” (Quick, Wright, Adkins, Nelson, & Quick, 2013). This mechanism involves perceiving a stressful situation as an opportunity rather than a threat.

Maddi (2006) found the trait of hardiness, aiding in the development of “resilience” during anxiety-provoking situations, results in performance enhancement” through active coping. Research studies (Lamond, Joseph, and Proverbs, 2015; Reser and Morrissey, 2003) have found situational preparedness as a precursor to calmness and an enhanced ability to deal with an imminent distress. A study (August 2021) on Indian nurses and nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic discovered that “self-efficacy, optimism, and resilience were the indicators of psychological preparedness” in pandemic management.

Self-Efficacy and its Benefits-

According to Bandura (1977), self-efficacy is the belief that one can successfully accomplish a task in a probable situation. Studies (Benight, et al., 1999; Shoji, et al, 2014) have found general self-efficacy to have a significant impact on coping with disasters and its association to long-term adaptation to challenging situations.

Multiple studies (e.g., Benight and Harper, 2002; Bandura, 1986; Lazarus, 1991; Schwarzer and Jerusalem, 1995; Strecher, et al, 1986) have discovered a positive association between generalized self-efficacy and good mental health and successful changes in health-related behavioral changes. They have also found generalized self-efficacy to be negatively correlated with anxiety, depression, and neuroticism.


If you or know someone who might benefit from professional assistance or if you feel the need to build self efficacy or resilience, you can reach out to Manoshala


By

Stuti Jain

Psychologist/Writer , Manoshala.

Reviewed by

Bhavya P, Counselling Psychologist, Manoshala.