The covid pandemic may have changed your personality

Among the traces left by the pandemic in our lives, there are those that affect our personality. An American study in psychology shows rapid change towards greater negativity and stress in young adult populations.

The pandemic linked to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is not entirely over. We are currently talking about the eighth wave, a figure that makes you dizzy. Between this beginning of the school year 2022 and March 2020, that is only two and a half years, the pandemic has left indelible traces. If you are quite young, it has likely even changed your personality.

This is what emerges from a study on 7,109 people and published on 28 September 2022 in the journal PLOS One. It affects only the American population, but the pandemic is unique in that it has an impact around the world. Its results are therefore relatively universal in scope.

The impact of the pandemic increased in 2021

The authors conclude that the pandemic has had a real impact on our personality. The discovery is surprising: most of the work in psychology has shown up to now that natural disasters have not been the cause of a change in these traits in us. But this short-term resilience appears to be somewhat interrupted by the duration of the covid.

For several months, former Prime Minister Jean Castex spoke every Thursday evening. // Source: YouTube government screenshot

There was a limited personality change at the start of the pandemic, but profound changes in 2021 “, Specify the scientists, in a comment on their study. Effects on personality include a decrease in “pleasantness”, extroversion or open-mindedness, and even diligence (attention to things, in terms of responsibility). What increases, however, is the predisposition to stress and neuroticism (a psychological term that can be translated as “negativity”).

“There was a limited personality change at the start of the pandemic, but profound changes in 2021”

This personality transformation occurs mostly in young adults – under 30 years of age. It is in this population that it is most significant, with a damaged maturity “, Where there is hardly any change in the elderly. This would be due in particular to the interruption of social activities usually associated with this age group.

The changes were about one-tenth of a standard deviation, which equates to about a decade of normative personality change. “, The researchers also note. In other words, what is striking is the speed with which this change is taking place, where it usually takes nearly 10 years. However, there are uncertainties about sustainability: it is difficult to know if this is a change that will remain in the long term, or that it will only be temporary.

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