Huh. Apparently Introverts Are Struggling MORE with Lockdown & Isolation Than Extroverts

A person lying on an orange couch with a couch cushion on their lap and holding an orange balloon in front of their face
Image by Pexels / CC 0

These are truly strange times. As of this writing, I have barely seen anyone other than my live-in partner for about seven months. When I had to go in for a physical exam, labs, and a flu shot at my primary care physician’s office (because I was many months overdue and they refused to refill my migraine meds until I came in and proved to them I was still alive), I was so starved for social interaction that I basically lapsed into a stand-up comedy routine when presented with new people. It was¬†bizarre.

This level of isolation is not normal for me. Despite being a writer (which tends to make people think that I’m introverted), I’m actually a fairly extroverted person. I love going out and doing things. Being social.

So I’m probably suffering badly, right? Weirdly, no. I had a rough spot there for several months after my father died in April because of the grief. But as far as loneliness from lockdown?

I’ve been weirdly okay. And strangely, my more introverted live-in partner has had a harder time with lockdown. That seemed weird to me and backwards. But today I stumbled onto a new study that indicates that this seemingly paradoxical pattern is quite usual.

Social Distancing and Lockdown Isolation Are NOT Easier on Introverts

This study found that introverted participants actually reported experiencing more feelings of anxiety and depression due to the pandemic-attendant social distancing and lockdown measures than extroverted ones. Among US-based respondents, introverts also reported increased levels of loneliness relative to extroverts.

In the study’s discussion section, the authors speculate that introverts may be at higher risk because previous studies have found them to be less likely to seek help when they need it and to have greater psychological problems at baseline.

And a Final Note About Living With Others Versus Living Alone

Here, too, is another interesting gem from the study’s discussion section:

Specifically, living with others (vs. living alone) was associated with experiencing more cognitive impairments and anxiety as a function of COVID19-related circumstantial changes. Adjacently, it was observed that COVID19-related loneliness and depressive symptoms were not predicted by living condition. Interpreted together, it is possible that close human affiliation serves as a protective buffer against social disconnectedness and low mood during the COVID19 pandemic, but works in the opposite direction for clarity of thought and keeping calm.

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This post is part of an ongoing Poly Land feature called Psyched for the Weekend, in which I geek out with brief takes about some of my favorite psychological studies and concepts. For the entire series, please see this link.

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Books by Page Turner:

Psychic City, a Psychic State mystery

 

Non-Fiction:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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