COVID-19 Anxiety and Wellbeing at Work in Finland during 2020–2022: A 5-Wave Longitudinal Survey Study

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The COVID-19 pandemic impacted workers globally during 2020–2022 and it has had major psychological implications for workers’ wellbeing. This longitudinal study analyzed risk and protective factors predicting COVID-19 anxiety among workers in Finland. Longitudinal national sample of Finnish workers (n = 685) participated in a five-wave study conducted in 2020–2022, covering multiple waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Our outcome measure was COVID-19 anxiety. Predictors were psychological distress, work exhaustion, technostress, and loneliness. Models also controlled for self-regulation; social support at work and remote working; and socio-demographic background factors. Both within-person and between-person effects were analyzed using multilevel hybrid regression models. COVID-19 anxiety varied between time points which is explained by changes in circumstances during the pandemic. Highest anxiety was expressed in the middle of the Delta variant surge and lockdown in spring 2021. Within-person changes in psychological distress, work exhaustion, technostress, self-regulation, and perceived loneliness were all associated with COVID-19 anxiety. Between-person results showed that distressed, exhausted, technostressed, and lonely workers expressed more anxiety than others. Remote workers reported higher anxiety over time than others. Those who had reported high self-regulation reported lower anxiety than others. Female gender and younger age were associated with higher anxiety. COVID-19 anxiety continues to be an important phenomenon with a magnitude of consequences on people and numerous industries. This study showed that general mental health and work stressors predict COVID-19 anxiety. Promoting social support and workers’ self-regulation skills can be beneficial for overcoming anxiety during and after the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number680
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • anxiety
  • loneliness
  • psychological distress
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • self-regulation
  • social support
  • work exhaustion

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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