24 March 2021

Lockdown really was introverts’ time to shine

The Back Page

You’ve seen the memes, you’ve read the tweets, now enjoy the science.

Extraverts fared worse during COVID lockdowns than introverts, according to a study published in PLOS One.

Here at TMR we have a NSS file – we’ll let you guess what that stands for – for research that uses complex study designs and difficult stats to arrive at the bleeding obvious. This finding falls pretty squarely in that category, as it was anticipated in the memosphere 12 months ago.

The researchers took an existing dataset on self-reported student mental health and personality traits from January 2020 and compared it against further self-ratings the students made daily on an app from March to May when they were home from campus.

“[T]he decrease in mood that was generally experienced during the COVID period was less pronounced for those with higher levels of neuroticism and lower levels of extraversion, openness, and agreeableness, i.e. those who tended to have lower mood scores pre-COVID … students with higher levels of extraversion experienced a decline in mood over time while students with lower levels of extraversion showed a slight elevation.”

In other words,

“While more research to understand the relations between personality dimensions and adjustment to the COVID pandemic and other stressors is needed, these data suggest a more complicated picture when it comes to how various personality traits may provide risk or buffers when it comes to coping with major stressors,” they wrote.

Since both the personality and mental health data was self-measured and students aren’t oblivious to memes, it would have been surprising indeed if the results had gone the other way.

If you’re an extravert, HI THERE! If not, sorry, we’ll see ourselves out. Tips to felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au.

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