A new study sheds light on the impact of personality traits and strict lockdown adherence on mental health outcomes. Researchers from Bangor University conducted a comprehensive analysis among 1,729 individuals in Wales during the first UK-wide lockdown from March to September 2020, with follow-up measures of stress, anxiety, and depression from February to May of the following year.
Contrary to popular belief, the study indicates that individuals who strictly followed the lockdown rules during the pandemic experienced worse mental health outcomes post-lockdown. Surprisingly, individuals with ‘communal’ personalities, characterized by caring and sensitivity, were the most likely to adhere strictly to the protocols. However, they also exhibited the highest levels of ongoing disturbances to their mental well-being.
In contrast, individuals with ‘agentic’ personalities, known for their independence, competitiveness, and desire for control, were the least likely to exhibit strict adherence to lockdown measures. Interestingly, these individuals showed a better ability to ‘bounce back’ from the effects of lockdown, implying a higher level of resilience.
Dr. Marley Willegers, one of the researchers involved in the study, emphasized that while strict adherence to health advice may lead to compliance, it can also have negative consequences on people’s well-being and recovery. The transition from receiving regular guidance on following public health guidelines during the pandemic to a lack of guidance post-lockdown posed a significant challenge for some individuals.
This research highlights the complexity of the relationship between personality traits, adherence to lockdown measures, and mental health outcomes. It emphasizes the importance of considering individual differences and providing appropriate support and resources to mitigate the negative impact on mental well-being.
Q: What were the personality traits studied in relation to lockdown adherence?
A: The study focused on individuals with ‘communal’ personalities (caring and sensitive) and ‘agentic’ personalities (independent, competitive, and desiring control).
Q: What were the mental health outcomes observed?
A: The study found that individuals with ‘communal’ personalities experienced ongoing disturbances to their mental well-being, while those with ‘agentic’ personalities showed a better ability to recover from the effects of lockdown.
Q: What were the implications of strict adherence to lockdown measures?
A: While strict adherence may lead to compliance, it can have negative consequences on people’s well-being and recovery.
Q: What challenges did some individuals face post-lockdown?
A: Some individuals struggled with the transition from receiving regular guidance during lockdown to a lack of guidance when lockdown ended.