Linking Self-Control, Hope, Positivity Ratio, Anxiety and Handwashing Habits during the Coronavirus Outbreak

Shira Bukchin-Peles*, Tammie Ronen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The novel COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the coronavirus. In the early stages of the pandemic, Israel struggled to contain its local outbreak through various measures that have virtually halted daily life and placed tens of thousands of people into quarantine. This study explored the role played by self-control and hope for obtaining two desired outcomes: (1) maintaining one’s positivity ratio (having more positive than negative affect—an indicator of wellbeing) and (2) increasing one’s contagion-preventing behavior (in this study—handwashing habits). Path analysis was conducted using survey data collected from 537 Israeli adults. Our findings suggest that self-control’s association with the positivity ratio is mediated through hope and anxiety levels. Self-control positively correlates with hope levels and negatively correlates with anxiety levels. Higher hope levels correlate with a higher positivity ratio, while lower anxiety levels correlate with a higher positivity ratio. The relationship between self-control and handwashing habits was mediated by hope, anxiety, and existing handwashing habits. This study brings research a step forward in demonstrating the vital role of positive components in achieving desired psychological and behavioral outcomes during an anxiety-provoking epidemic outbreak. In addition to its theoretical innovation, the importance of this study lies in its practical value: We focus on variables that are influenced by policy, education, and communication.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number8859
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • COVID-19
  • anxiety
  • hand washing
  • hope
  • positivity ratio
  • self-control


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