An exploration of the relationship between psychological flexibility, coping and group differences on anxiety, depression, distress, wellbeing and covid-19 anxiety during the covid-19 pandemic

  • Mark Carey

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Background: Research conducted at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic has
started to explore psychological flexibility (PF), coping and mental health outcomes. However, the differences between demographic minority groups (such as people with existing mental health conditions or people who identify as an alternative to heterosexual) has not yet been explored. Furthermore, it is important to continue to assess the impact of Covid-19 as people adapt to the waves of infection rates and changes in government restrictions.

Method: A quasi-replication study was completed to explore the relationship between PF, coping and mental health measures. A UK cross-sectional population sample completed online questionnaires measuring avoidant and approach coping and psychological flexibility alongside mental health outcomes of wellbeing, distress, depression, anxiety and Covid-19 specific anxiety. Hierarchical regression and mediation analysis were used to examine possible associations and relationships between variables.

Results: Overall, PF explained small significant changes with a positive association with wellbeing, and a negative association between depression and anxiety. No significant association was found between PF and distress. PF was found to have a positive association with approach coping and negative association with avoidant coping. Mediation analysis found the relationship between PF and wellbeing, distress, depression and anxiety measures to be significantly influenced through coping.

Conclusion: The present study replicated similar findings to the existing literature, supporting the growing evidence that PF may influence an coping behaviours and mental health outcomes when people experience challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Date of Award30 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorAlan Robert Bowman (Supervisor)

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