Associations between trait and state perceived stress and daily moods: COVID-19 stressful experiences as a moderator

Mingjun Xie, Ye Feng, Yanjia Zhang, Hongfeng Zhang, Danhua Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Drastically disrupting daily routines, the global pandemic of COVID-19 has posed critical mental health threats to adolescents and young adults worldwide. Many of the extant empirical findings, however, have focused on individuals’ psychological adjustment during the initial phase of the pandemic. It is less clear how COVID-19 stressful experiences impact young people’s daily lives in the post-pandemic “new normal.” Drawing on 7-day diary reports, the present study fills this gap by examining: (1) how daily perceived stress impacted daily emotional adjustment; and (2) the moderating effects of COVID-19 stressful experiences on these associations among 582 Chinese young adults (Mage = 18.12, SD =.65; 69% females). Results indicated that higher levels of both trait (i.e., average levels) and state (i.e., daily fluctuations) perceived stress were associated with greater negative and anxious moods, and that prior pandemic-related experiences exacerbated the adverse impact of both trait and state perceived stress on daily moods. Specifically, young adults reporting greater COVID-19 stressful experiences demonstrated poorer emotional adjustment (i.e., lower levels of positive mood and higher levels of negative mood) on days when they had more fluctuations in perceived stress; the aggravating impact was stronger when the average levels of perceived stress were higher. By illuminating the moderating effects of COVID-19 stressful experiences, this study contributes to the limited, but burgeoning, research examining the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on daily emotional adjustment in post-pandemic life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Daily diary
  • Mood
  • Perceived stress
  • Trait and state


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