IJERPH, Vol. 18, Pages 10888: Socioeconomic Status and COVID-19-Related Psychological Panic in China: The Role of Trust in Government and Authoritarian Personality (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Although the health and economic risks of COVID-19 may differ for higher- and lower-socioeconomic-status (SES) populations, some studies found that people with lower SES do not necessarily experience more psychological panic. In this research, we examine how SES is related with psychological panic during the COVID-19 pandemic using a large nationwide Chinese sample. Participants were 933 adults (mean age = 30.04, SD = 8.19) who completed an online questionnaire between 11 and 12 February 2020. Lower SES individuals have higher trust in government and thus experience less psychological panic, and the indirect effect of this trust suppresses the direct negative association between SES and psychological panic. In addition to this difference in trust in government between lower- and higher-status individuals, the indirect effect of the trust only exists among people with low (not high) authoritarian personalities. This study provides evidence that political trust may serve as a buffer, suppressing the negative association between SES and psychological panic; thus, policies and actions enhancing political trust are vital to support the mental health of individuals with lower SES during the pandemic, especially for citizens with low authoritarian personalities.