The COVID pandemic has provided a contradiction to the long-held belief that personalities do not tend to change much as a result of stressful situations in adults. Following the pandemic, adults seemed to display lower levels of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion between 2021 and 2022. With so many stressors and a significant shift in how people could interact, psychologists have begun to rethink what could cause personality shifts. Young adults have been the most impacted because their personalities are less established than the personalities of older adults.
It is important to note that not every adult experienced significant shifts in their personality. Nor is it known who was affected or why. These are more areas that need to be studied. It is also possible that the pandemic wasn’t the source for the changes, but something else. Without a control group, it will be difficult to fully understand the noticeable personality changes. Those who did participate in the research ranged in age between 18 and 109, and there were over 7,000 adults who participated. They began answering a survey in the early part of 2020, then were sent surveys again in 2021 and 2022. In addition to decreases in positive personality traits, there was a noticeable increase in neuroticism. The primary concern is that this could increase issues with mental health in participants, particularly among the younger ones as they age. While more research needs to be done, it does indicate that people who feel that there is something wrong are probably correct, but the pandemic has been hard on everyone. This means that while there is a decrease in positive traits, there is a collective understanding that the changes could affect people going forward.
This explains some of the behavior that has been recorded and posted to social media as people have been acting out in public. To read more details, you can check out People Experienced Some Key Personality Changes during the Pandemic, Study Finds.
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