COVID-19’s Influence on Personality and Health

Contrary to common belief, increasing evidence suggests that personality can evolve during adulthood. A recent comprehensive review of 276 studies revealed that traits viewed as socially favourable often increase throughout much of an adult's life, moving towards greater maturity. Some research shows that personality can even change from hour to hour. Furthermore, significant life events can also prompt changes in these personality traits. The COVID-19 pandemic was a significant life event that has undeniably reshaped many aspects of our lives. But in addition to the fear and anxiety we experienced, did it have an influence on our personality and health? This particular study looked at how the Big Five personality traits—conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, and openness—changed during the pandemic and how it affected health outcomes. Researchers followed a diverse group of 504 participants in the United States, checking in on their personalities four times from March 2020 to December 2021.

Little to no change in core personality traits

Surprisingly, despite the challenges of the pandemic, most participants (between 88% and 97%) showed little to no change in their core personality traits. This suggests that the pandemic might not have been a strong enough event to cause significant changes in most people’s personalities at an individual level.

However, the study did find some broader trends. The participants generally became more conscientious and less extroverted over the study period. These slight changes suggest that people might have been adapting to new social norms and health behaviours that the pandemic required, such as being more careful and less outgoing.

Some traits were related to better health

The researchers also explored how changes in personality were related to health and well-being. They found that those who became more conscientious, extroverted, and agreeable tended to report better health and well-being. Similarly, those who became less neurotic also reported better health outcomes.

While the study mainly showed relationships between personality changes and health (rather than proving one causes the other), it highlighted how personality can evolve in response to global crises and affect health. This insight opens up new ways of thinking about how personality traits can be adjusted or used in public health strategies to help people cope better during crises, indicating a dynamic connection between our personalities and our life experiences.


Reynolds, E. (2023, April 19). Did the pandemic change our personalities? British Psychological Society.

Kyle, K. M., Ford, B. Q., & Willroth, E. C. (2024). Personality Trait Change Across a Major Global Stressor. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 0(0).

Photo by Abbat on Unsplash

Related articles:

November 16, 2023

Recent research in brain science is uncovering an

October 10, 2023

During key stages of brain growth, the brain

September 7, 2023

As the perception of success evolves in today's

July 20, 2023

Recently, researchers from the US and Australia conducted

May 17, 2023

The article "Personality Can Change from One Hour

February 9, 2023

There's a lot of excitement around the use

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get ten neuroscience strategies to work with your clients' brains


Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software