UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Did Social Connection Decline During the First Wave of COVID-19? : The Role of Extraversion Folk, Dunigan; Okabe-Miyamoto, Karynna; Dunn, Elizabeth; Lyubomirsky, Sonja

Abstract

In two pre-registered studies, we tracked changes in individuals’ feelings of social connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both studies capitalized on measures of social connection and well-being obtained prior to the COVID-19 pandemic by recruiting the same participants again in the midst of the pandemic’s upending effects. Study 1 included a sample of undergraduates from a Canadian university (N = 467), and Study 2 included community adults primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom (N = 336). Our results suggest that people experienced relatively little change in feelings of social connection in the face of the initial reshaping of their social lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Exploratory analyses suggested that relatively extraverted individuals exhibited larger declines in social connection. However, after controlling for levels of social connection prior to the pandemic (as pre-registered), the negative effect of extraversion reversed (Study 1) or disappeared (Study 2).

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