Relationship Between Risk Perception, Social Support, and Mental Health Among General Chinese Population During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Background The Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) pandemic is a global public health challenge and provides an opportunity to investigate the unclear relationship between risk perception, social support, and mental health. This study aims to examine the association between risk perception and mental health while taking social support as a moderator. Methods An online cross-sectional study recruiting 2993 participants was conducted in China, from 1st to 10th, February 2020. The relationship between risk perception, social support, and mental health was examined using multivariate linear regression analyses. Results This study indicated that risk perception was associated with a higher level of mental health symptoms. The subscale "Perceived uncontrollability" seemed to present a stronger correlation with depressive symptoms (Beta=0.306) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms (Beta=0.318) than the subscale "Perceived Severity" did. Moreover, social support moderated the relationship between perceived uncontrollability and mental health symptoms. Conclusion In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to design mental health strategies and programs from a risk perception perspective (more mental health strategies should be delivered to build reasonable risk perception), while social support from family and friends may be protective to against depressive symptoms and PTSD symptoms. There is a demand for mental health intervention from a risk perception perspective.