A recent study conducted by a university in the United Kingdom found that individuals who fully complied with COVID-19 measures are more likely to suffer from lingering mental health issues than those who resisted government mandates and viewed such orders with skepticism.
The findings might be the least surprising bit of post-pandemic data out there.
But they are nonetheless hard data for individuals who desired to make their own health choices during the madness of the pandemic era and were vilified for doing so.
Meanwhile, that person you might still see today wearing a mask in public — four years after the outbreak began — could need help, according to a study sanctioned by Bangor University in Wales.
The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, was published Nov. 21.
Researchers with the school identified people who fell into two personality groups and tracked them for three months this year.
The purpose of the study was to gauge participants’ well-being following lockdowns in the country and to find a way to ensure that when the next pandemic comes along, as many people as possible do what is best for the greater good.
“During the period from February 15th to May 10th, 2023, after the lockdowns had ended, participants completed short surveys about their well-being every 2 weeks over a period of 3 months,” reads a four-page report from four researchers on behalf of the university.
The subjects were divided into two personality types — agentic and communal.
The agent is your typical person who is more likely to be focused on success, self-determination and independence.
This is emblematic of your government in 2020. Civil rights were thrown on the garbage heap. Ironically, outdoor physical exercise would have saved lives.
Paddle boarder chased by boat, arrested in Malibu after flouting coronavirus closures https://t.co/26R7GM0qso
— Patrick (@Horan4545) May 21, 2023
Meanwhile, the communal personality is more likely to try to not rock the boat and to believe they are looking out for others.
In the context of COVID, one might be inclined to picture this person:
its 2023 (almost 2024 actually) and there are still people who are driving in their car alone with a mask pic.twitter.com/QF68WBHAox
— @mcm_ct_usa (@mcm_ct_usa) October 25, 2023
There is much more nuance regarding the two personality types, but you get the gist.
“Human personality can be considered through the lens of two broad dimensions known as agency and communion,” the authors of the study wrote.
“Agency reflects competence, independence, achievement and is characterised by a strong drive for control, power and influence,” they said, “whereas communion relates to factors such as agreeableness, social dependence, and caring and is characterised by nurturing and cooperative behaviours.
“The impact of population health messages may be influenced by these personality traits.”
Years removed from so many of the public health warnings and science-defying mandates, those who followed them to the letter are more likely to be struggling, according to the study.
The following question was posed by the study’s authors: “What’s the cost of compliance on people’s well-being?”
The answer: “The more individuals complied with health advice during lockdown, the worse their well-being post-lockdown.”
“Increasing awareness of the risk of infection can effectively encourage compliance, but it also has negative consequences on people’s well-being and recovery, especially for those higher in communal traits,” the researchers said.
To be fair, agentic and communal personality types are all around us, so it’s not as though either personality type is superior to the other.
But when COVID spread to every country on the planet beginning in late 2019, there were those extreme minions among us who dug in their heels and would have been more than pleased to have seen all individual liberties suspended indefinitely and even permanently.
Some of those heels are still stuck in the ground.
These people are more likely to be struggling, and the study suggested a way to help them in the event of another pandemic.
“Our findings suggest that, although increasing worry is effective in driving behavioural compliance during pandemics, using such strategies undermines people’s well-being and psychological recovery,” the researchers noted.
The study concluded, “Specifically, people with higher Communal traits are likely to still be suffering from the effects of the lockdown period for some time after restrictions end.
“Without guidance, these people are more likely to maintain the infection prevention behaviours recommended during lockdown, which may undermine their psychological recovery post-lockdown.”
In other words, the few people who are still wearing masks while driving alone might need government intervention.
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