Original Article

The Role of Self-Talk in Predicting Death Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Coping Strategies in the Face of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)


Objective: Nowadays, the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is one of the most stressful resources that has led to the rise of different levels of psychological crisis. In addition to the countries affected by the COVID-19, such as China, European and American countries, Iran has appeared as one of the most affected countries with high infected cases and deaths. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the role of self-talk in predicting death anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and coping strategies in the face of COVID-19.
Method: This descriptive and correlational study was conducted on 354 adults living in Ardabil, Iran, who were selected using cluster sampling from 21 January to 19 March 2020. Self-Talk questionnaires, Coping Strategies, Death Anxiety, and Obsessive-Compulsive questionnaires were used for data collection. Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation, and multiple linear regression were used for data analysis.
Results: The findings revealed a significant positive relationship between self-talk and problem-centered coping style. Also, significant negative relationships were found between self-talk and emotional coping style, death anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Furthermore, based on the results of the regression test, self-talk predicted problem-centered style, emotional-coping style, death anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Conclusion: The results of this study emphasize the need for psychological crisis intervention during the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, this study provides an important step in shifting attention to self-talk skills from sport psychology fields toward clinical psychology, especially about the mental impacts of COVID-19.

1. Xiang YT, Yang Y, Li W, Zhang L, Zhang Q, Cheung T, et al. Timely mental health care for the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak is urgently needed. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(3):228-9.
2. Bao Y, Sun Y, Meng S, Shi J, Lu L. 2019-nCoV epidemic: address mental health care to empower society. Lancet. 2020;395(10224): e37-e8.
3. Qiu J, Shen B, Zhao M, Wang Z, Xie B, Xu Y. A nationwide survey of psychological distress among Chinese people in the COVID-19 epidemic: implications and policy recommendations. Gen Psychiatr. 2020;33(2): e100213.
4. Shojaei SF, Masoumi R. The Importance of Mental Health Training for Psychologists in COVID-19 Outbreak, Middle East J Rehabil Health Stud. 2020; 7(2): e102846.
5. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, Zhao J, Hu Y, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet. 2020;395(10223):497-506.
6. Lok GKI, Ng MWI, Zhu MMX, Chao SKK, Li SX. Mediating Effect of Religious Belief on Death Anxiety in Chinese Adolescents: A Cross- Sectional Study. Int J SchoolHealth. 2019; 6(4):14-20.
7. Çakar F. The levels predicting the death anxiety of loneliness and meaning in life in youth. EJES. 2020; 6(11):98-121.
8. Dar KA, Iqbal N, Mushtaq A. Intolerance of uncertainty, depression, and anxiety: Examining the indirect and moderating effects of worry. Asian J Psychiatr. 2017; 29:129-33.
9. Versace A, Graur S, Greenberg T, Lima Santos JP, Chase HW, Bonar L, et al. Reduced focal fiber collinearity in the cingulum bundle in adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019;44(7):1182-8.
10. Kumar A, Somani A. Dealing with Corona virus anxiety and OCD. Asian J Psychiatr. 2020; 51:102053.
11. Goyal K, Chauhan P, Chhikara K, Gupta P, Singh MP. Fear of COVID 2019: First suicidal case in India! Asian J Psychiatr. 2020; 49:101989.
12. Goñi-Balentziaga O, Garmendia L, Labaka A, Lebeña A, Beitia G, Gómez-Lázaro E, et al. Behavioral coping strategies predict tumor development and behavioral impairment after chronic social stress in mice. Physiol Behav. 2020; 214:112747.
13. Lloyd J, Muers J, Patterson TG, Marczak M. Self-Compassion, Coping Strategies, and Caregiver Burden in Caregivers of People with Dementia. Clin Gerontol. 2019;42(1):47-59.
14. Cai H, Tu B, Ma J, Chen L, Fu L, Jiang Y, et al. Psychological Impact and Coping Strategies of Frontline Medical Staff in Hunan Between January and March 2020 During the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 19) in Hubei, China. Med Sci Monit. 2020;26: e924171.
15. Majdi MZZ, Purwanto E, Sunawan S. Group Counseling with Self-Talk Technique and Stress Inoculation Training to Enhance Students’ Eustress. Jurnal Bimbingan Konseling. 2019; 8(2), 125-33.
16. Walter N, Nikoleizig L, Alfermann D. Effects of Self-Talk Training on Competitive Anxiety, Self-Efficacy, Volitional Skills, and Performance: An Intervention Study with Junior Sub-Elite Athletes. Sports (Basel). 2019;7(6):148.
17. Latinjak AT, Hatzigeorgiadis A, Zourbanos N. Goal-directed and spontaneous self-talk in anger-and anxiety-eliciting sport-situations. JASP. 2017; 29(2): 150-66.
18. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, Zhao J, Hu Y, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet. 2020;395(10223):497-506.
19. Lu R, Zhao X, Li J, Niu P, Yang B, Wu H, et al. Genomic characterisation and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding. Lancet. 2020;395(10224):565-74.
20. Brinthaupt TM1, Hein MB, Kramer TE. The self-talk scale: development, factor analysis, and validation. J Pers Assess. 2009; 91(1):82-92.
21. Khodayarifard M. The psychometric properties of the Self-Talk Scale among Iranian university students. Psychology. 2014;5(02):119-26.
22. Templer DI. The construction and validation of a Death Anxiety Scale. J Gen Psychol. 1970;82(2d Half):165-77.
23. Moradipour S, Soleimani MA, Mafi M, Sheikhi MR. Effect of Benson’s relaxation technique on death anxiety among patients with breast cancer. hayat. 2019;24(4):355-67.
24. Hodgson RJ, Rachman S. Obsessional-compulsive complaints. Behav Res Ther. 1977;15(5):389-95.
25. Mohamadirizi S, Kordi M, Shakeri MT, Modares-Gharavi M. The relationship between eating disorder symptoms and obsessive compulsive disorder in primigravida women. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2015;20(6):642-6.
26. Folkman S, Lazarus RS. The relationship between coping and emotion: implications for theory and research. Soc Sci Med. 1988;26(3):309-17.
27. Mahmoudirad G, Hosseini M, Kazemimajd R. The Relationship between Coping Strategies and Organizational Commitment Nurses. Quarterly J Nurs Manag. 2018;7(2):73-83.
28. Askarizadeh G, Towhidi A. The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Stress Management Training on Chronic Fatigue and Death Anxiety in Women under the Cure of Dominating. Iranian Journal of Psychiatric Nursing. 2019;7(4):57-63.
29. Hatzigeorgiadis A, Zourbanos N, Mpoumpaki, Theodorakis Y. Mechanisms underlying the self-talk–performance relationship: The effects of motivational self-talk on self-confidence and anxiety. Psychol Sport Exerc. 2009; 10(1): 186-192.
30. Lee AG, Buckmaster CL, Yi E, Schatzberg AF, Lyons DM. Coping and glucocorticoid receptor regulation by stress inoculation. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014; 49:272-9.
31. Hatzigeorgiadis A, Theodorakis Y, Zourbanos N. Self-talk in the swimming pool: The effects of self-talk on thought content and performance on water-polo tasks. J Appl Sport Psychol. 2004;16(2):138-50.
32. Conley SL. An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Positive Self-Talk on Engagement with Feared Stimuli and Control Related Beliefs: Northern Illinois University; 2019.
33. Khodabakhsh R, Abbasi L, Shahangian SS. Effectiveness of Metacognition Therapy on Controlling of Obsessive Thoughts and Increasing of Adjustment in Case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Advances in Cognitive Science. 2013;15(3):24-32.
34. Xu N, Liu Y. Coping strategy mediates the relationship between body image evaluation and mental health: A study with Chinese college students with disabilities. Disabil Health J. 2020;13(1):100830.
35. Hardy J, Thomas AV, Blanchfield AW. To me, to you: How you say things matters for endurance performance. J Sports Sci. 2019;37(18):2122-30.
36. Smith JM, Mancy R. Exploring the relationship between metacognitive and collaborative talk during group mathematical problem-solving–what do we mean by collaborative metacognition? JRME. 2018; 20(1):14-36.
IssueVol 15 No 3 (2020) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijps.v15i3.3810
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Coping Strategies Death Anxiety Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Self-Talk

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Sadri Damirchi E, Mojarrad A, Pireinaladin S, Grjibovski AM. The Role of Self-Talk in Predicting Death Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Coping Strategies in the Face of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Iran J Psychiatry. 15(3):182-188.