Comparison between emerging adults and adults in terms of contamination fear, post-COVID-19 PTSD and psychiatric comorbidity

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Current Psychology

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The present study compared Chinese emerging adults and adults regarding the association between contamination fear, posttraumatic stress disorder post-COVID-19 and psychiatric comorbidity after controlling for demographic and trauma exposure variables. 1089 Chinese civilians (M = 382; F = 707) with a mean age of 26 years (M = 26.36, SD = 8.58) were recruited from different provinces in China via an online survey posted on mainstream Chinese social networking platforms. They completed a demographic page with questions on trauma exposure, the Vancouver Obsessional Compulsive Inventory, the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 and the General Health Questionnaire-28. Results showed that 12.7%, 68.7% and 18.6% met criteria for full, partial and no PTSD, respectively. Emerging adults reported significantly lower levels of symptoms of re-experiencing, avoidance, somatic problems, anxiety and fear of contamination than adults. In both emerging adults and adults, contamination fear was correlated with PTSD and psychiatric comorbidity. High educational attainment was significantly correlated with psychiatric comorbidity in emerging adults, but with PTSD in adults. Length of quarantine was correlated with psychiatric comorbidity only in adults. In conclusion, both emerging adults and adults developed varying levels of contamination fear, posttraumatic stress and general psychological symptoms following the outbreak of COVID-19. Emerging adults were more resilient than adults in coping with distress.




Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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Medicine and Health Sciences


Contamination fear, PTSD, COVID-19, Emerging adults

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


Open Access Type

Bronze: This publication is openly available on the publisher’s website but without an open license