The psychological and emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been highlighted as a major public health concern, with early epidemiological evidence suggesting increased rates of psychiatric disturbance as well as overall stress, loneliness, and uncertainty. While a range of psychosocial factors have been found to contribute to poor mental health outcomes over the past year, a growing number of studies have also evaluated potential protective factors for mitigating emotional distress during the pandemic. Psychoanalytic models of personality, through their consideration of the intersections between interpersonal relationships, emotional functioning, and coping methods for managing stress, may offer a useful lens for understanding individual differences in resilience during the pandemic.
This presentation provides an overview of the role of personality and interpersonal functioning in adaptation to stress during the pandemic, and reports emerging findings from an empirical study that examined the impact of adult attachment on loneliness and suicidal ideation during the early stages of the pandemic. Specific empirical findings about the factors contributing to suicide risk and other adverse mental health outcomes are reviewed, along with an overview of emerging intervention approaches aimed at mitigating risk in vulnerable populations. Attendees will gain a broad understanding of various factors affecting mental health risk and resilience during the pandemic, and will review considerations for addressing these factors in treatment, reducing adverse outcomes, and medico-legal risk.