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COVID-19 anxieties might differ between men and women, health experts say

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Concerns about contracting the coronavirus can affect anyone, but other pandemic-related worries, including money, uncertainty and the ability to face the unexpected, may be more common for men.

As stay-at-home restrictions loosen, it’s time to get back to work for many. However, unemployment is at the highest rate it’s been since the Great Depression. People are jobless, furloughed, and the prospects of finding new work is slim. Health experts say this adds to financial fear and anxiety, possibly more so in men than in women.

“The traditional role [for men] has been the protector of the family, the provider,” Susan Kersey, director of the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program at Purdue University, told News 8. “With the economic instability, men may feel more pressured in terms of providing.”

The increased uncertainty of what’s to come is also adding to anxiety among men, Kersey adds. Men tend to view themselves as being strong. The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic threatens that aspect of a man’s character, she said.

Denial is another factor that might also contribute to their added angst.

“Men tend to use denial as a defense mechanism more so than women,” said Kersey. “However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is slowing forcing them to face that reality is really happening, potentially adding to their anxiety.”