In a research study conducted by academics at Bangor University, it has been discovered that individuals with different personality traits experienced varying mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 lockdown. While those who adhered strictly to the lockdown protocols recommended by Boris Johnson and senior medics and scientists experienced higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, those with more independent and competitive personalities reported lower levels of these mental health issues. The study further revealed that individuals with “communal” personalities, who are caring, sensitive, and mindful of others’ needs, displayed the highest levels of continuing disturbance to their mental wellbeing.
Dr. Marley Willegers, an academic at Bangor University, explained that the transition from receiving regular exhortations about following public health advice during the pandemic to no advice when lockdown ended was challenging for some individuals. The absence of messaging campaigns to help everyone safely transition back to normality caused certain personality types to retain infection prevention behavior and anxiety, undermining their mental wellbeing.
The findings of the study are of deep concern to mental health experts. The Centre for Mental Health thinktank described the enduring poor mental health experienced by those who adhered to the rules as “deeply disturbing.” The fear, loss, and trauma caused by the pandemic continue to have a lasting impact on many people’s mental health, with the loss of social solidarity from witnessing others not complying with the same restrictions exacerbating the situation.
Moving forward, future government health advertising campaigns should take into account the varying personality types in the population. Rather than solely emphasizing people’s responsibility to others, campaigns should highlight the personal costs and benefits involved to effectively change behavior.
1. How did personality traits affect mental health outcomes during lockdown?
The study found that individuals with “communal” personalities, characterized by caring and sensitivity towards others, experienced higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. On the other hand, individuals with “agentic” personalities, who are more independent and competitive, reported lower levels of these mental health issues.
2. Why did individuals with communal personalities experience greater mental health disturbance?
The transition from receiving regular advice during the pandemic to no advice after lockdown was challenging for individuals with communal personalities. The absence of messaging campaigns to facilitate a safe return to normality led to the retention of infection prevention behavior and anxiety, negatively impacting their mental wellbeing.
3. Why is the enduring poor mental health of those who adhered to the rules concerning?
The fear, loss, and trauma caused by the pandemic continue to have a lasting impact on many people’s mental health. For some, witnessing others not complying with the same restrictions has further exacerbated their mental health issues.
4. How should future health advertising campaigns address different personality types?
Future campaigns should consider the personal costs and benefits involved in adopting certain behaviors rather than solely emphasizing responsibility to others. This approach would take into account the varying personality types in the population and effectively promote behavior change.