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And we can thank the coronavirus for this: young people have become more anxious, withdrawn and shy.

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The study used the five-factor model of personality, a psychological theory Personality can be traced back to five traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.. The researchers recorded how these characteristics changed from 2020 to 2022 among 7,109 participants in three age groups: 30 and under, 30-64, and 65 and over.

In 2021 and 2022, neuroticism, i.e. the tendency to view the world as stressful or uncertain, increased significantly in the 30 and under group. (and thus, a tendency toward negative emotional responses) and reduced agreeableness and conscientiousness. They changed from the participants in the old study.

These results suggest that In this group the “process of maturation is subverted” – says Angelina Sutin, professor at Florida State University College of Medicine.

In 2020, all age groups in the study showed a decline in neuroticism compared to pre-pandemic levels, while the other four traits remained unchanged.

In contrast to those aged 30 and under, neuroticism continued to decline in 2021 and 2022 among adults aged 30, 64 and 65, respectively. The other four characteristics decreased significantly in middle-aged adults but did not change in older adults.

Younger participants may have been more affected by the pandemic than older ones Personality is more “plastic” at a young age, says Sutin. This meant that young people had more opportunities for change.

Although the pandemic is stressful for everyone, it has also disrupted normal tasks for young people, such as schooling, transitioning to the workforce, socializing and forming relationships.

– says.

Sutt is not sure if these changes are permanent or temporary. Despite this, They are likely to influence the decisions of twentysomethings on a daily basis.

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The pattern of changes indicated that adults became more emotional and sensitive to stress, optimistic and straightforward, and less organized and disciplined.

– says.

If these prove to be long-term personality changes, they may affect young people pursuing larger life goals. For example, if they regularly see the world as an intimidating place, it can make it difficult to apply for a dream job or ask them out on a date.

Cover image: Getty Images

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