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Anthony Mancini | PACE UNIVERSITY

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Psychology Today featured Professor Anthony Mancini in "COVID-19's Heterogenous Mental Health Consequences"

09/16/2020

Psychology Today featured Professor Anthony Mancini thoughts on mental health variation and effects in "COVID-19's Heterogenous Mental Health Consequences"

Psychology Today

COVID-19 has affected everyone, but even these effects will be variable across individuals, contexts, and time. Dr. Anthony Mancini shares some of his thoughts on this based on his commentary.

Anthony D. Mancini, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pace University, heads the Trauma, Social Processes, and Resilience Lab and is a clinical psychologist who studies adaptation to acute stressors. His most recent theoretical and empirical work focuses on the ways acute adversity can result in improved psychosocial functioning (“psychosocial gains from adversity”). He has published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on the complex effects of stress on human functioning and the role of social factors in stress adaptation.

Jamie Aten: How would you personally define heterogeneous mental health consequences?

Anthony Mancini: Heterogeneous mental health consequences just means that people are going to respond in widely varying ways. This is always, incidentally, the case with acute stress, so we should expect a lot of variation in response to COVID-19. We’ll see variation over time, we’ll see it among different kinds of people, and we’ll see it under different circumstances. It’s critical to recognize that everything we know about the stress response tells us that we cannot make global characterizations about the pandemic’s mental health effects.

For most people, the pandemic will have little effect to no effect on their psychological functioning. However, others may be substantially affected, suffering from depressed mood, anxiety about the future, and feelings of isolation, not to mention specific fears about infection or contamination. Still others may see minor fluctuations over time, doing better and worse, while still others will show improved functioning. 

JA: What are some ways understanding the heterogeneity of COVID-19 mental health consequences can help us live more resiliently?

AM: An understanding of heterogeneity can help us to live more resiliently by simply recognizing it. We should expect more variability in our mood under stress, more ups and downs. Just anticipating this can help us not to layer additional stress by worrying that we’re not coping well.

JA: What are some ways people can cultivate resilience amidst this pandemic?

AM: There’s little to no doubt that the quality and availability of social interaction, whether virtual or in-person, is absolutely essential. Just thinking about the people that we care about can help, so it’s not always the case that we need to see people in person. Whatever the case, we know that social factors are critical in the context of stress. We also know—and this is sometimes not properly understood—that stress impels us to affiliate with others, to “tend and befriend,” in Shelley Taylor’s memorable phrase. We should obey this impulse, as it is likely driven by evolutionarily driven coping mechanisms.

Read the full Psychology Today article.

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Medium featured Dyson Anthony Mancin piece "Potential Positives Amidst a Major Tragedy"Medium featured Dyson Anthony Mancini piece "Potential Positives Amidst a Major Tragedy"

04/03/2020

Medium featured Dyson Anthony Mancini piece "Potential Positives Amidst a Major Tragedy"

With more than 882,068 cases and 44,136 deaths worldwide (as of this writing), the coronavirus pandemic has exacted a staggering toll on human life. It has also exacted a psychological toll. Anxiety about infection, concern for vulnerable family members, and stress from disrupted routines have profound implications for everyday psychological functioning. Social isolation, a necessity for containing the virus, can exacerbate these anxieties. Inactivity from remaining at home can as well. Worse, many people have lost their livelihoods and face uncertain futures, dwindling retirement savings, and difficulties supporting their families, while others are forced to work under dangerous conditions. All of this is a potent recipe for emotional distress.

Although these risks are real and the prognosis potentially grim, the long-term psychological consequences of the pandemic are not at all clear. As my own research has found, acute stress can have surprisingly beneficial consequences on psychological functioning. It stimulates cooperation, trust, and affiliation. It can bind people together in common purpose. It can make us sensitive to others in ways we weren’t before. It can even directly improve psychological functioning.

Read the full Medium article.

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"The Mercury News" featured Dyson Professor Anthony Mancini in "For Conception crew, surviving the fire is just the first step in a long healing process"

09/09/2019

"The Mercury News" featured Dyson Professor Anthony Mancini in "For Conception crew, surviving the fire is just the first step in a long healing process"

...“It really does set in motion a very basic and probably evolutionary tendency to seek other people out when we feel stress,” said Anthony Mancini, a psychology professor at Pace University.

Mancini said that after the initial shock, most people show resilience. And in some cases, the traumatic event can even have a positive impact in the long run. He studied survivors of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting and found that people who said they had experienced anxiety and depression in the months leading up to the shooting showed a marked improvement in their symptoms several months afterward, despite the trauma they experienced.

“It seemed to be the case that the event kind of stitched them into a social network that had long-term beneficial social consequences,” Mancini said. “That’s certainly possible here.”

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"Los Angeles Times" featured Pace University's Dyson College of Arts and Sciences Professor Anthony Mancini in "Suicides highlight the toll of school shootings and the role of 'complicated grief'"

03/28/2019

"Los Angeles Times" featured Pace University's Dyson College of Arts and Sciences Professor Anthony Mancini in "Suicides highlight the toll of school shootings and the role of 'complicated grief'"

...“Mass trauma events like this tend to stitch people together. These people appeared to have been drawn into the fold and showed marked improvements,” said study coauthor Anthony Mancini, head of the Trauma, Social Processes, and Resilience Lab at Pace University. “These kinds of events impel social interaction, encourage social behavior, and create a common ground for social action. They do a lot.”

Read the full article.