On the resilience of extroverts in a time of lock-downs

Research

In the first of many publications to come out of our COVID-19 research project, Forbes contributor Mark Travers, PhD, explores the differences in how introverts and extroverts are handling the effects of isolation and anxiety from the coronavirus. Our findings challenge the conventional wisdom that extroverts are suffering most from social distancing and lock-down measures, and, in fact, show they might actually be faring the best.

Just as no one is immune to the virus itself, virtually everyone is feeling an impact on their mental health and psychological well-being. But extroverts seem to be adapting more easily than their introvert counterparts, showing greater resilience and optimism, and maintaining better compliance with public health guidelines for social distancing, wearing face-masks, etc. It may seem counter-intuitive that people who supposedly thrive on social interaction and personal connection would be suffering less than natural homebodies, but as Dr. Travers explains in his article there are several theories for why that might be.

“Compared with introverts, extroverts tend to experience more frequent and intense positive emotions,” says Christopher Soto, Professor of personality psychology at Colby College in Maine. “This makes it easier for them to maintain a positive mood in everyday life. It also helps them stay optimistic in the face of difficult circumstances, like the current crisis.”

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what our research can reveal about the coronavirus and the effects it’s having on individuals, families, and society. In our next COVID-19 research installment, we’ll delve into the different dimensions of fear around COVID-19.

Stay safe, and stay tuned.

~ Kyle Stamper, Chief Data Scientist

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