Internet memes related to the COVID-19 pandemic as a potential coping mechanism for anxiety

Umair Akram*, Kamila Irvine, Sarah F. Allen, Jodie C. Stevenson, Jason G. Ellis, Jennifer Drabble

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


This study examined whether significantly anxious individuals differed from non-anxious individuals in their perceptual ratings of internet memes related to the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst considering the mediating role of emotion regulation. Eighty individuals presenting clinically significant anxiety symptoms (indicating ≥ 15 on the GAD-7) and 80 non-anxious controls (indicating ≤ 4) rated the emotional valance, humour, relatability, shareability, and offensiveness of 45 Covid-19 internet memes. A measure of emotion regulation difficulties was also completed. The perception of humour, relatability, and shareability were all greater amongst anxious individuals relative to non-anxious controls. These differences were not mediated by emotion regulation deficits. Internet memes related to the current Covid-19 pandemic may tentatively serve as coping mechanism for individuals experiencing severe symptoms of anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22305
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date12 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


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