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Academics investigate global psychological impact of COVID-19

Academics from Leeds universities have joined a global network of over 100 researchers in 65 countries to investigate the global impact of COVID-19 on people’s psychological behaviours and quality of life.

Dr Chanki Moon (pictured), Lecturer in the Leeds School of Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett University and Dr Laura De Pretto, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Trinity University are both working with academics from across the world on a cross-cultural psychology study entitled: COVID-19, personality and quality of life: Self-enhancement in the time of pandemic.

Since April, the research project has been exploring how adults have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic based on their personalities and social behaviours including narcissism, anxiety, fear, cynical hostility and conspiracy-based beliefs.

One of the outcomes expected by the researchers is that those with high levels of anxiety may have experienced hoarding and preventive behaviours as a result of the pandemic.

Researchers also expect narcissistic people who focused on themselves will be engaged in hoarding and preventive behaviours, but they will indicate lower levels of prosocial behaviours such as helping the vulnerable with food shopping and volunteering.

Researchers are collecting data through an online survey, aiming to gather at least 250 responses per country. As part of this, the study will consider the cultural context of social behaviours including trust in government, political culture, affluence and the severity of the pandemic.

Dr Moon, Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Beckett University and UK project coordinator, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health crisis that has had a revolutionary effect on everyday human life. As a social psychologist, I have a strong sense of commitment to support our society to overcome this crisis through academic work.

“This cross-cultural research project will be a cornerstone to extend our knowledge of human life and behaviours; especially how humans are reacting to this global health crisis. We should all join hands to defeat the COVID-19 disaster in order to create a bright future for everyone.”

Dr De Pretto, who is responsible for the project in Malaysia, said: “This is a very important and exciting project to be part of. Few times in human history have seen the whole world population fighting against a pandemic comparable to the current one.

"Understanding how people behave to protect their own health as well as that of the collective, what factors influence their behaviour, and how culture affects these dynamics is fundamental not only to overcome the present challenges, but also to be prepared to better face the future.

"Now we have theoretical frameworks, technological tools and global networks that allow us to undertake this type of research, and it is our duty to do so." 

COVID-19, personality and quality of life: Self-enhancement in the time of pandemic was set up by the CSWU Cross-Cultural Psychology Centre in Poland and has collected over 5,000 responses from over 20 countries so far.

Participants in the UK can complete the survey online, and for further information, please visit the research page.


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