You'd think that social distancing would affect interactive extroverts more than reclusive introverts, but a recent study says the opposite is true. The survey conducted by Greater Divide, a Virginia-based consultancy, says that people who displayed a tendency toward extroversion based on personality tests were less likely to experience mental health issues during the quarantine.
The authors said that people who are extroverts tended to identify with positive statements such as "I am calm in the face of danger" or "I believe things generally work out for the best," according to Forbes. On the other hand, people who leaned more to introversion were more fearful and nervous.
"Compared with introverts, extraverts tend to experience more frequent and intense positive emotions," said Christopher Soto, professor of personality psychology at Colby College in Maine. "This makes it easier for them to maintain a positive attitude in everyday life. It also helps them stay optimistic in the face of difficult circumstances, like the current crisis."
Soto added that extroverts are more likely to take advantage of social networks to stay connected to their friends and family.
The researchers warned that their study doesn't mean that extroverts are not affected mentally and emotionally by the COVID-19 crisis. A recent Gallup survey reported that 15% of Americans are already experiencing mental health issues and it's expected that another 37% will suffer if the quarantine continues.
"The health and financial impacts of the pandemic are well-publicized, but we are learning there are important psychological factors that are less understood," Kyle Stamper, chief data scientist at Greater Divide, told Forbes. "Isolation and anxiety are affecting different people in different ways, but we don't yet know or have a good sense of where these differences lie. That's one of the vital questions we're trying to answer in our research."
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