According to the motivated helplessness hypothesis, a sense of helplessness in coping with threats in a specific domain can serve an anxiety-buffering function. The purpose of this study was to test this hypothesis in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Argentina, using data collected before and during the pandemic. Findings supported the motivated helplessness hypothesis: Whereas feelings of helplessness to avoid being infected with COVID-19 were positively related to fear of being infected with COVID-19 and state anxiety before the pandemic, these feelings were negatively related to fear of being infected (and not directly related to state anxiety) during the pandemic. These findings demonstrate the specificity of the motivated helplessness effect and further establish this effect in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the School of Psychology, IDC Herzliya, and followed the guidelines set forth by the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct Standard 8 (http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx).
© 2021 Taylor & Francis.
- health behavior