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Title: The psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Portugal: the role of personality traits and emotion regulation strategies
Author: Kluwe-Schiavon, Bruno
De Zorzi, Lucas
Meireles, Joana
Leite, Jorge
Sequeira, Henrique
Carvalho, Sandra
Keywords: COVID-19
Personality traits
Emotion regulation
Psychological impact
Issue Date: 17-Jun-2022
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Abstract: Recent evidence suggests that both personality traits (PT) and emotion regulation (ER) strategies play an important role in the way people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was two folded. First, to longitudinally investigate the psychological distress (depression, anxiety, and stress levels) taking in consideration PT and ER strategies in 3 different moments: during the first lockdown period (April/20), at the first deconfinement (May/20) and 1-month after the first deconfinement (Jun/20)–Experiment I. Second, to cross-sectionally evaluate the impact of the pandemic in psychological distress and the correlates with PT and ER 6-months after the first deconfinement November/20 to February/21 –Experiment II. A total of 722 volunteers (Experiment I = 180; Experiment II = 542) aged 18 years or older participated in this online survey. The findings from Experiment I show that psychological distress decreased after the lockdown period, however, neuroticism traits predicted higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress symptoms, while difficulties in ER strategies were identified as a risk factor for depression and stress. For experiment II, neuroticism traits and being infected with COVID-19 were associated to higher levels of symptomatology, while unemployment and the use of emotional suppression strategies to cope with emotional situations were associated to depressive and anxiety symptoms. Although the psychological impact of the COVID-19 outbreak decreased over time in our sample, the current findings suggest that difficulties in emotional regulation and high levels of neuroticism traits might be potential risk factors for psychiatric symptomatology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, people with difficulties in ER and neuroticism traits would benefit from psychological interventions that provide personality-appropriate support and promote emotion regulation skills during stressful events, such as the case of the global pandemic.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0269496
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WJCR - Artigos

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