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Psychiatry Investig > Volume 20(9); 2023 > Article
Psychiatry Investigation 2023;20(9):870-879.
DOI:    Published online September 19, 2023.
The Effect of Fear of COVID-19 Infection and Anxiety on Loneliness: Moderated Mediation Effects of Gratitude
Seong-Eun Jeon1  , Seunghyong Ryu2  , Ju-Yeon Lee2  , Jae-Min Kim2  , Sung-Wan Kim2,3  , Young-Shin Kang1 
1Department of Psychology, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
2Department of Psychiatry, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
3Mindlink, Gwangju Bukgu Mental Health Center, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
Correspondence: Sung-Wan Kim ,Tel: +82-62-220-6148, Fax: +82-62-225-2351, Email:
Correspondence: Young-Shin Kang ,Tel: +82-62-530-2652, Fax: +82-62-530-2659, Email:
Received: May 21, 2023   Accepted: July 5, 2023   Published online: September 19, 2023
This study was conducted to identify factors related to loneliness during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and focused on how the fear of COVID-19 infection affects loneliness and the conditional effect of gratitude as a moderator in the relationship among the fear of COVID-19, anxiety, and loneliness.
For the analysis of this study, a survey was conducted among 1,500 individuals aged 19 to 69 years living in three metropolitan areas in South Korea. Questionnaires included sociodemographic data, psychological experience and stress associated with COVID-19, Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale–7, UCLA Loneliness Scale–3, and Gratitude Questionnaire–6. An analysis was conducted by applying SPSS PROCESS macro models 4 and 7.
First, anxiety mediated the relationship between the fear of COVID-19 infection and loneliness. Second, the effect of the fear of COVID-19 infection on loneliness through anxiety was moderated by gratitude. The higher the gratitude, the more the fear of COVID-19 infection is buffered in the path to anxiety, and the lower the indirect effect on loneliness.
This suggests that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, interventions for psychological problems such as anxiety and loneliness can be carried out through gratitude, a significant protective variable.
Key words   COVID-19; Fear; Anxiety; Loneliness; Gratitude
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