JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS, vol.310, pp.384-395, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
Studies conducted during the pandemic revealed strong associations between gender and COVID-19 related fear and anxiety. Females perceive coronavirus as a greater threat to personal health and population than males. The aim of the current meta-analysis is to estimate gender difference in COVID-19 related fear and anxiety. The second purpose of this study is to clarify the role of potential moderators in COVID-19 fear and anxiety. For these reasons, studies published between March 2020 and October 2021 were searched in various databases (Web of Science, SCOPUS, PubMed, and Google Scholar). In total, 315 studies met the inclusion criteria, and 60 studies for COVID-19 related fear and 23 studies for COVID-19 related anxiety were included in the current study. Cohen's d effect size values were calculated based on these individual studies showing the difference between males and females in terms of COVID-19 related fear and anxiety. Results revealed that gender has a moderate and statistically significant effect on COVID-19 related fear (ES = 0.307) and anxiety (ES = 0.316) in favor of females. Moderator analyses showed that continent variable was a statistically significant moderator of gender difference in COVID-19 related fear and anxiety. The highest effect size of gender differences in COVID-related fear and anxiety were obtained from the studies conducted in Europe. However, other moderators (the average age of sample, culture, timing, and population) were not statistically significant. Although this meta-analysis has a few limitations, the findings showed that COVID-19 outbreak negatively affected females more.