A longitudinal study on the relationship between various aspects of self-reported interoception, worries and protective behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Description: Protective behaviors were essential for minimizing the spread of the virus during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It is often assumed that awareness of bodily sensations (interoception) can improve decision-making and facilitate adaptive behavior. This paper investigates cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between different aspects of self-reported interoception, trait anxiety, COVID-related worry, and health protective behaviors. The study was conducted on a community sample of 265 adults. The two data collection phases took place online, before (baseline) and during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary. Contrary to our expectations, neither cross-sectional nor longitudinal associations were found between protective behaviors and indicators of self-reported interoception. However, worry at baseline predicted protective behaviors during the second wave, even after controlling for socio-economical characteristics and protective behaviors at baseline. Our results highlight the adaptivity of health-related worry when behavioral steps to avoid threats are known and available. Also, higher level of perceived interoception did not appear to be health protective under these circumstances.