Social connectedness and mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in a community sample in Korea
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CitationLee, S., Moon, H., Ko, J., Cankaya, B., Caine, E., & You, S. (2023). Social connectedness and mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in a community sample in Korea. Plos one, 18(10), pp.0292219.
This study compared social connectedness patterns and examined the relationships between objective or subjective social connectedness and mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic among community dwelling adults in South Korea. An identical online survey was administered at two time points, in 2019 prior to the onset and again in 2021. Objective (network diversity and network size) and subjective (thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness) social connectedness were measured along with positive and negative indices of mental health (depression, suicidal behavior, happiness, and life satisfaction). The results indicated that among social connectedness indices perceived burdensomeness were significantly higher during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the prior period, while network size was smaller. Subjective social connectedness was associated with all aspects of mental health consequences, either positive or negative. Among objective social connectedness, only network diversity was significantly associated with increased happiness and life satisfaction, and objective social connectedness was not associated with depression and suicidal behavior. These associations did not differ across the two time periods. The findings, both before and during the pandemic, indicated that network diversity is an important factor for positive indices of mental health and that efforts to increase subjective social connectedness are needed to decrease the risk of depression and suicidal behavior.