Researchers Say The Pandemic Changed People’s Personalities 

New studies have measured that during the two-year pandemic-induced lockdown period their were collective declines in personalty traits such as extraversion and agreeableness, particularly among middle school and high school-aged adolescents.

By Crystal Murdock | Published

There is a quote that goes “some people will never change” and although many still believe that to be true, there is new research that was conducted that is providing data that reflects a person’s personality can change for various reasons. A person’s personality is typically prone to change over time naturally or instantly with deliberate effort. A person’s personality can also change collectively when impacted by a global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This new research has been shared by and is reflecting that American adults experienced some form of personality change from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and social distancing through the timeframe when these constraints were lifted. Each of the person’s personality changes may seem small but is actually equivalent to a decade’s worth of personality changes in a two-year timeframe. This news was created and based on data taken from over 7,000 adults in the age range of 18 to 109 years old. 

In order to obtain the research results, each participant was requested to take a personality test that aligned with a five-factor model of personality types. These results were categorized by managing stress (neuroticism), connecting with others (extroversion), creative thinking (openness), trusting others (agreeableness), and being disciplined and responsible (conscientiousness). These test results from each person’s personality type were then compared to the same factor of tests from before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

pandemic personality changes hidden overwork midlife crisis amazon retail

The results from after the heightened peak of the COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing restrictions showed a decline in agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness. In other words, all the personality traits were exhibiting fewer social skills. Younger adults were reporting a peak in mood swings and were more prone to stress and less trusting and cooperative than before the pandemic. 

The study of the changes in a person’s personality only recorded the differences in the comparison of data within the same age range within a two-year span. The data is not able to explain exactly what caused the changes in each person’s personality, just that it had. The researchers did provide arguments as to what they believed the changes were based on, knowing the state of the world during the pandemic. 

As an example, they argued that younger adults’ lives were disrupted by the strict restrictions and lockdowns far more drastically than other age groups due to the normalization of life being disrupted. These young adults with impacted personality changes were faced with homeschooling and were unable to socialize as typical teenagers would get to experience during middle and high school. 

One thing all researchers can agree with is no matter where people lived, they were forced to spend more time at home due to the pandemic. This clearly would explain a decline in the amount of extraversion a person exhibits in their personality. It is exceedingly challenging to be a social butterfly when you are not allowed to spread your wings and fly beyond your front door.