Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
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Personality differences and COVID-19: are extroversion and conscientiousness personality traits associated with engagement with containment measures?

Carvalho, Lucas de F.; Pianowski, Giselle; Gonçalves, André P.

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Introduction: In December 2019, an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) probably occurred in Wuhan, China. By March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared a pandemic. Containment measures such as social distancing and hand hygiene were recommended. In this study, we start from the hypothesis that engaging with containment measures in a pandemic situation should be more comfortable for some people than for other people. Thus, individual differences should be associated with engagement with containment measures. Objective: To investigate to what extent two personality traits, extroversion and conscientiousness, are associated with engagement with two containment measures (social distancing and handwashing). Methods: The sample consisted of 715 Brazilian adults aged 18-78 years, who answered the Big Five Inventory 2 Short (BFI-2-S) and factors from the Dimensional Clinical Personality Inventory 2 (IDCP-2). Results: Higher scores for extroversion were associated with lower means for social distancing (p < 0.001) and higher scores for conscientiousness were associated with higher means for social distancing and handwashing (p < 0.05). Conclusion: The findings indicate the importance of acknowledging extroversion and conscientiousness traits as relevant to people’s engagement with the measures recommended for COVID-19 containment.


SARS-CoV-2, disease outbreaks, personality; extraversion, perfectionism.
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