Personality and change in perceived control during the acute stage of the coronavirus pandemic.

TitlePersonality and change in perceived control during the acute stage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsSesker, AA, Lee, JHyun, Luchetti, M, Aschwanden, D, Stephan, Y, Terracciano, A, Sutin, AR
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
ISSN Number0191-8869
KeywordsCOVID-19, perceived control, Personality Traits

Lower perceived control (PC) is related to maladaptive psychological responses to stressful events, yet it is unclear whether longer-term situations are associated with PC change over time. This study examined PC change during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and whether trajectories varied by age and personality. Personality was assessed in 2455 U.S. adults (18-100 years) from an online study conducted January-February 2020. PC was assessed across three follow-ups (March-July 2020). Latent growth curves modeled PC change. In controlled models, PC decreased (β = -0.107,  = .005). Older adults had higher PC than younger adults (β = 0.012,  = .001), and experienced less PC decline (β = 0.012,  < .001). All personality traits but Openness were related to PC at baseline (βs ranged from -0.912 to 0.543, ps < .001). Conscientiousness (β = 0.155,  = .002), Extraversion (β = 0.128,  = .008), and Agreeableness (β = 0.099,  = .044) were associated with less PC decline. Employment (β = 0.160,  = .022), health (β = 0.133,  = .002), and disease burden (β = -0.056,  = .014) were also associated with PC change. These results were largely driven by the financial dimension of PC. This study provides evidence for PC change during the COVID-19 pandemic and identifies sociodemographic, personality, and health moderators of PC trajectory.

Citation Key12268
PubMed ID35308090
PubMed Central IDPMC8919785
Grant ListR01 AG053297 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG068093 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States