Are you feeling crankier than you did pre-Covid-19? You’re likely not alone - US researchers have found young people have experienced small personality shifts over the pandemic. 

The Covid-19 pandemic may have changed people’s personalities, especially in younger adults, despite a long-standing theory that personality traits usually stay the same, even after stressful situations like earthquakes and hurricanes.

A new study looked at the key personality traits of a sample of Americans before and during two different stages of the pandemic and found notable changes.

Researchers compared the group’s neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness from a pre-pandemic measurement, between 2014 and 2020, and at two points after Covid-19 emerged - March to December 2020 and 2021 to 2022. 

Study author Angelina Sutin says while there was limited personality change early in the pandemic, there were striking changes starting in 2021.

Traits that took a small dip, particularly in younger adults, included extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. 

If these changes persist, the study suggests collectively stressful events like the Covid-19 pandemic could slightly alter our personalities.

Such changes normally take place over a decade. 

Sutin says the extent of those personality changes were influenced by age.

“The personality of young adults changed the most, with marked increases in neuroticism and declines in agreeableness and conscientiousness.

“That is, younger adults became moodier and more prone to stress, less cooperative and trusting, and less restrained and responsible.” 

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