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Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
ISSN: (Print) (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/whum20
Micro, mezzo, and macro factors associated with
coping in the early phase of COVID-19
Donna Wang , Kathryn Krase , Thalia MacMillan , Alexandra Chana Fishman ,
Yonason Ron Witonsky & Chantee Parris-Stingle
To cite this article: Donna Wang , Kathryn Krase , Thalia MacMillan , Alexandra Chana Fishman ,
Yonason Ron Witonsky & Chantee Parris-Stingle (2020): Micro, mezzo, and macro factors
associated with coping in the early phase of COVID-19, Journal of Human Behavior in the Social
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/10911359.2020.1838985
Published online: 10 Dec 2020.
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Micro, mezzo, and macro factors associated with coping in the
early phase of COVID-19
Donna Wanga, Kathryn Krase b, Thalia MacMillanc, Alexandra Chana Fishmanb,
Yonason Ron Witonskyb, and Chantee Parris-Stingleb
aDepartment of Social Work, Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA; bDepartment of Social Work,
Yeshiva University, New York, New York, USA; cSchool of Human Services, Department of Health, Human
Services, and Addiction Studies, SUNY Empire State College, New York, New York, USA
Coping and adapting to crisis can be influenced by numerous factors Coping; COVID-19; social
on multiple levels. The experience during the beginning of the COVID- distancing; social support
19 pandemic is no different. This article reports on the results of
a cross-sectional, online survey administered to adults living in the
United States and Canada in June 2020 (N = 1,405). Hierarchical multi?
ple regression analysis found that respondent's age, support of family
and friends, support of children's school, use of alcohol and sub?
stances, level of trust/satisfaction with national government, being
overwhelmed by the amount of COVID-related information, and level
of life disruption accounted for 12% of the variance for level of self-
reported coping. This study did not find that race or gender impacted
self-reported coping. Discussion and implications at the micro, mezzo
and macro levels are offered.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused serious repercussions to everyday life that were widely
experienced worldwide. In addition to significant personal concerns for contracting the virus,
changes to everyday life, including social distancing and general life disruption, were and are
considerable. The inclination and ability to follow some of the recommended preventative
practices most likely impacted individuals' level of coping and adaptation to the pandemic.
Micro, macro, and mezzo factors have been previously explored for their impact on
trauma, war, poverty, and natural disasters. Pandemics can have similar consequences as
war, poverty, and natural disasters (Galea et al., 2020; McLaren et al., 2020). It is important
to explore coping experienced during crisis and identify any differential coping experienced
by groups in order to successfully intervene. Micro factors include age, race/ethnicity,
gender, and religion. Macro factors include social support, community, and work. Mezzo
factors include policy, national leadership, and provision of services.
Past disasters have exacerbated gender inequality. New roles assumed by women during
disaster events usually come without the alleviation of their existing responsibilities
(McLaren et al., 2020). The 1997 Red River Valley flood in North Dakota and Manitoba
displayed the domestic and communal responsibilities for women when they helped out as
emergency responders in professional positions (Enarson & Scanlon, 1999). Hurricane
Katrina, in 2005, exposed additional challenges women face during environmental
CONTACT Donna Wang dr.donnawang@gmail.com Department of Social Work, Springfield College, 263 Alden
Street, Springfield, MA 01109, USA.
? 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
catastrophes; women took on the burden of domestic duties, and childcare, including
entertaining the children and providing emotional support (Peek & Fothergill, 2008).
Thus far, societal responses to COVID-19 have similarly magnified gender inequi?
ties. Women have been found to have an increased burden of women in frontline
fields, while providing unpaid care activities, and high levels of responsibility for
community activities in the early stages of COVID-19 (McLaren et al., 2020).
Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, communities faced the added burden
of school closures for several months, which undoubtedly increased the burden on
families for childcare and work, particularly women. During this unprecedented
closure, the amount that schools at the mezzo level can continue to provide support,
even remotely, may help families be able to cope and ensure continuity for their
In additional to gender disparities, natural disasters in the United States, in particular,
have been found to impact communities of color more severely. Areas largely impacted by
Hurricane Katrina were disproportionately populated by African-American and Latinx
communities, as communities of color made up almost 80% of the flooded neighborhoods
(Allen, 2007; Matthew, 2006). African-American survivors of Hurricane Ike, in 2008, were
more likely to suffer post-disaster PTSD and depression than White and Latino survivors
(Davidson et al., 2013).
There is a known adverse relationship between substance and alcohol use and adverse
coping (Lagisetty et al., 2017; Ornell et al., 2020; Schulte & Hser, 2014). It is known that
natural disasters often increase substance use disorders (Galea et al., 2020), as does exposure
to trauma (Berenz et al., 2016; Hansen et al., 2020; North et al., 2002; Read et al., 2014;
Sheerin et al., 2016; Williams et al., 2015). As substance use has been noticed to be
increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic (Ornell et al., 2020), it is important to explore
the relationship with coping in the general population.
In response to the negative ramifications of widespread crises, unique ways of coping and
adaptation are experienced. Skill sets and traits needed to cope and be resilient, such as soft
skills and applications of emotional intelligence may help people cope during such disasters
(Naamati Scheinder et al., 2020). Adult survivors with PTSD of a Nepal earthquake used
active coping, followed by social coping as well as religious coping (Baral & Bhagawati,
2019). Adolescents with PTSD who survived an earthquake in China displayed internality,
locus of control, and problem-solving as resilient factors (Zhang et al., 2014). Firefighters
who survived the Oklahoma City bombing adjusted well, with 50% stating that they turned
to friends or relatives after the event (North et al., 2002). After the 2004 Asian Tsunami,
survivors utilized extended social networks, religious faith, and cultural traditions to help
with emotional well-being (Ekanayake et al., 2013). Residents who lived 30 to 100 feet away
from a train collision in 1996 in Stafford, UK described distancing coping strategy, self-
controlling coping strategy, and seeking social support as most commonly used (Chung
et al., 2001). Another study showed that family support was the only statistically significant
result associated with lower trauma symptoms for survivors of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
(Smith et al., 2014). Additionally, the advent of social media has also created a new


Title: Micro, mezzo, and macro factors associated with coping in the early phase of COVID-19
Subject: Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 2020. doi:10.1080/10911359.2020.1838985
Keywords: Coping; COVID-19; social distancing; social support
Author: Donna Wang
Creator: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher 11.0.3433/W Unicode
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