Background: Anxiety problems have increased in the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. However, very little is known about the anxiety rates in the new normal phase of the disease when adults have been assumed to be adjusted. The study aimed to find out the difference in anxiety in a convenience sample of Appalachian adults during the new normal phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, examine its association with sociodemographic factors, and compare it with the anxiety levels before the pandemic as recalled by the participants.
Study design: A cross-sectional study.
Methods: The Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 scale was used in the present study. The Chi-square test was used to examine the difference between the severity of anxiety before and during the new normal phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of sociodemographic and behavioral correlates. Pearson correlation was used to see the strength of the association between anxiety and age.
Results: Although the anxiety rate was stabilized by the time people approached the new normal phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, its severity increased significantly among those with preexisting anxiety (P=0.001). Anxiety was found highly associated with female and minority gender, student status, lower education and income level, marital status, cohabitation with parents, and cigarette consumption (P=0.001). A slight inverse association was observed between age and anxiety before and during the new normal phase of the COVID-19 pandemic (P=0.001).
Conclusion: The young and females seem to be suffering from a higher burden of anxiety. Research is suggested to identify ways to develop social support-based community programs to address this issue.