top of page

Do executive functions buffer against COVID-19 fear and stress? A latent variable approach.

Ng, T. L. Y., Majeed, N. M., Lua, V. Y. Q., & Hartanto, A.



Levels of COVID-19 stress have soared worldwide as a result of the pandemic. Given the pernicious psychological and physiological effects of stress, there is an urgent need for us to protect populations against the pandemic’s psychological impact. While there exists literature documenting the prevalence of COVID-19 stress among various populations, insufficient research has investigated psychological factors that might mitigate this worrying trend. To address this gap in the literature, the current study seeks to examine executive functions as a potential cognitive buffer against COVID-19 stress. To do so, the study adopted a latent variable approach to examine three latent factors of executive functions and their relation to COVID-19 stress among a sample of 243 young adults. Structural equation models showed differential associations between COVID-19 stress and the latent factors of executive functions. While the latent factor of updating working memory was associated with attenuated COVID-19 stress, task switching and inhibitory control were not significantly associated with COVID-19 stress. These results further our understanding of the critical processes of executive functions and highlight the nuanced link between executive functions and pandemic-related stress.

bottom of page