COVID-19 and psychological distress in Norway: the role of trust in the healthcare system
This study aims to examine groups at risk for psychological distress in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak, and the role of trust in the healthcare system as a possible moderator.
This study examined psychological distress in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak, and the role of trust in the healthcare system as a possible protective buffer. We collected data from over 4000 participants via the Norwegian Citizen Panel. Analyses showed that being infected with COVID-19, being medically vulnerable, working in the healthcare system, female gender, younger age, lower level of education, and having an immigrant background predicted psychological distress. Trust in the healthcare system seemed to act as a protective buffer. People in the medically vulnerable group, those below 61, and those in quarantine reported lower psychological distress when they indicated having high trust in the healthcare system. Most participants, however, reported psychological distress levels that were below the clinical cut-off, suggesting that the majority may have coped relatively well in the early stages of the pandemic. In addition, effect sizes were small, which may suggest that there are other factors that contribute to psychological distress that were unmeasured by us (such as pre-existing mental health problems). Nevertheless, the findings highlight potential groups to take into consideration in mental healthcare strategies and policies, as well as future research.