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I’d like to see this study subsequently shift to study middle-aged and older adults too. The lack of inhibition and increase in aggression during the pandemic.
>lack of inhibition
From Thucydides, regarding the Plague of Athens (emphases my own):
"In other respects, too, the plague marked the **beginning of a decline to greater lawlessness in the city.** People were more willing to dare to do things which they would not previously have admitted to enjoying, when they saw the sudden changes of fortune, as some who were prosperous suddenly died, and their property was immediately acquired by others who had previously been destitute. So they thought it reasonable to concentrate on immediate profit and pleasure, believing that their bodies and their possessions alike would be short-lived. No one was willing to persevere in struggling for what was considered an honorable result, since he could not be sure that he would not perish before he achieved it. What was pleasant in the short term, and what was in any way conducive to that, came to be accepted as honorable and useful. **No fear of the gods or law of men had any restraining power, since it was judged to make no difference whether one was pious or not as all alike could be seen dying**. No one expected to live long enough to have to pay the penalty for his misdeeds: people tended much more to think that a sentence already decided was hanging over them, and that before it was executed, they might reasonably get some enjoyment out of life."
Gotta love when history gives us a perfect snapshot of the present day
History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme
This is a great bit of info. Thanks for sharing.
Brilliant post. Solid history right here.
I'm curious if anyone's tried to study driving tendencies since it seems like everyone is super aggressive on the roads even moreso than prior
I've seen multiple articles on it. People are driving more aggressively, getting into physical fights more often, freaking out on planes more often... it's quite likely the root of the massive crime wave we've seen across the country. People went absolutely bonkers during the pandemic.
I wonder if its all "just because of COVID."
Frankly, there are a while host of problems in the world that feel like they have just gotten exponentially worse in the world and personally, I am just done with it all, and people. This was bad before COVID but only got worse in the last couple of years.
I think a lot of it can trace back to Covid. A lot more time indoors led to a lot more time on social media/phones. A lot more conspiracies and less talking with neighbors and people in your community.
Also the increase in rudeness and inconsideration of others
People have always been stupid. A lone individual may gain some insight, and maybe see a pattern or two.
People, en masse? Just a pack of easily fooled, easily manipulated knuckle draggers.
The thing that throws me for a loop is that those are often *the same people*.
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."
A crowd's intelligence is roughly the IQ of its dumbest member, divided by the number of people in the crowd.
Also look at regional differences. For example, Western Australia had a closed border with very little covid until a long time into the pandemic. Are there any big differences between WA and the rest of Australia? What about Australia vs other countries?
There is now a LOT of data about the more ephemeral effects of the pandemic which researchers will be sifting through for a long time. The silver lining is that we may learn some interesting things about human social development, community interaction, etc.
I wonder how much of that is a lasting effect of covid, and how much is seeing their role models act differently.
Isn't it the case that people become more aggressive and less agreeable etc. from general social isolation?
If you check out r/teachers, this is a frequent issue that is brought up. Kids are emotionally and socially far behind where they should be.
What we need is a year of just… social emotional development focus in schools. Everything jumped back to the old days but the kids haven’t; they don’t have the tools necessary for it. A SEL emphasis with post-pandemic curriculum would help. And a lot of group therapy probably, too.
Even school districts that emphasis SEL as a top priority are struggling to catch students up developmentally from the pandemic. When society and home-life is short on self reflection and self awareness generally, having the schools just make up for that is extra challenging. I’d love to see more programs that connect students, parents, and the community in addition to endless SEL lessons in homeroom.
Everyone has gone through some level of trauma from the pandemic. Ergo, the children of this society got the brunt of everyone’s PTSD symptoms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8585564/
Probably also more kids too with nobody wanting to be teachers anymore.
It makes sense when you think about it. Especially for younger children. We spent 2 years telling them that being around other people was deadly. Don't hug your friends or play tag or sit too close at lunch or stand too close in the line for the bathroom. It was necessary to keep people safe but kids had to rewire their brains to accept and follow those rules. So I could see hostility towards others and a lack of focus on academics as a side effect.
Now we've told them to basically reverse all of that thinking and many expect them to just...do it immediately. Like you said, it will take time.
My concern is we haven't dealt with the root of the problem: How to safely handle a pandemic or world wide event. So we are putting kids at risk of possibly dealing with this again. In my opinion, school should have been super low on the priority list while we were at the height of the pandemic. Instead, we forced students and parents into rushed remote "learning" which stressed out families even more while also being terrified of catching a deadly disease. As a single mom of 3, I still feel some residual stress.
Study ‘regression’ and ways to help people experiencing it.. as well as ‘PTSD’ and its’ symptoms. The entire world went through trauma due to the pandemic. Children have always been the most pushed around group of humans and society isn’t taking the time to help entire family units heal from it. I know having my children in heightened stress states has brought the anxiety in me out in full force and I had to take steps to get back to my ‘baseline’. .. which then helped my kids in going back to their ‘baseline’. My teen is still very much struggling though.. better than the last two years but still has ‘emotional flashbacks’ in medical settings and in crowds. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8585564/
"We" already know exactly what to do to prevent a pandemic. We did not do what we should have done because we weren't the ones who got to make those calls.
SARS and hemorrhagic fevers and all sorts of nasty things exist and we know what the best practices are to prevent them from becoming globe spanning nightmare diseases.
The parties responsible for carrying these practices out either bailed entirely and abnegated their responsibilities OR they were completely hamstrung by third parties spouting antisocial nonsense OR they went way overboard and acted in socially damaging ways, all depending on where you live and who governs you.
Some places handled it well and to the best of their abilities of course.
As a kid you think the world has it figured out, the adults know what they're doing. Now that was disproven, world wide at an early stage for them. They know it's all a sham.
Feels like most schools barely have the resources to do regular basic teaching, much less fold in a special program to help with Post Pandemic problems.
Yeah, a lot of these problems existed pre-COVID. COVID just sped things up.
You’re right. Schools don’t treat teachers well, so there is a huge shortage. It’s rough out there. :(
So I work in a position where we are trying to promote evidence-based programs in schools and SEL is a big part of some of them but its WILD seeing the pushback we get when you say SEL. Theres a category of parents that HATE IT. so not only do we have the problem of children needing this for their wellbeing, but parents are not even willing to learn about it nor allow their children to interact with it.
So, everyone's saying SEL but no one ever said the non-acronymn version. So uh, what is that?
Social emotional learning.
I also dislike the tendency of people to use acronyms and just assume everyone is familiar with them. It is poor writing form.
It’s absolutely wild! Like, what’s so bad about teaching kids how to recognize their feelings? How to empathize with others?
You’d think SEL was the new satanic panic with the response parents have had to it.
There’s a decent subset of parents who believe the opposite of “it takes a village.” They felt that their child should learn about life from their parents and their parents only. They thought teachers are strictly for subject knowledge and nothing else. Sports coaches? To make them better at the sport. I guess to each their own, but as a soccer coach I’d say 90% of my job is to make kids better people, and soccer is just to vehicle to deliver those lessons,
Teaching kindness, critical thought, self-reflection, and empathy has always gotten pushback. At least as long as I've been teaching, which is a fair while now.
Kids whose parents refuse to let them learn this stuff need it the most.
It is associated with “liberal,” “progressive,” “socialist,” whatever “indoctrination.” “Oh they’re going to turn your kid into touchy feely hippies.” And look around at the number of adults who are emotionally immature. Throwing tantrums in public because of something a teenager running a cash register did, refusing to follow laws and rules because they feel those rules just don’t apply to them, broadcasting personal drama on social media, bragging about mistreating their kids, preoccupation with revenge. A certain percentage of adults are moving through life behaving as if they’re still badly behaved 13 year olds. More than the political aspect, those people think they live life normally, and that teaching their kids social and emotional regulation is some kind of attack on them.
And be aware that anti intellectualism is *extremely* common in this country. There’s always pushback any time anything “new” is added to the curriculum, and the base logic is “I don’t understand that and it makes me insecure that my child will understand it better than me, so I’ll say it’s pretentious and unnecessary.” There are a lot of people who are frankly unhappy that children learn to read and do math in school, so anything beyond that is going to certainly cause an uproar.
Can we label it somthing less hippy then? Call it Communacative American Training courses, bill it as restoring skills lost since we were forced to not meet during the pandemic.
It is. In a lot of Texas towns, SEL is part of the target for Christian Nationalists screaming at school board meetings & slandering teachers, because they want religious control over public schools. It's awful.
Because if you teach children empathy and kindness, they won't hate the people their parents tell them to hate.
I've heard a lot of comments like "we think it's important for the students to get SEL (and social justice work) in the classroom, but not at the expense of academic subjects". Some parents and other adults don't seem to understand that a dysregulated child with poor coping skills isn't going to be able to access the curriculum we present them.
I kept saying everyone's two years behind. When kids came back to campus, everyone acted like it. 9th graders acting like 7th graders because that's how old they were the last time they were in a classroom! Kids forgot how to human. We're still playing catch-up. Between the virus's effect on our brains and the psychological effect of the pandemic, we're all scrambled... kids and adults. And I'm not sure if it can be reversed or mended... I mean, how can I help students when I can't get past it myself? Might just be something we have to learn to live with..
It’s not just two years though. My MS kids are displaying behaviors and impulsivity that we wouldn’t even see in the younger, more agreeable set, and our kindy teacher is having a hell of a year smashing extreme behavior with her para that we wouldn’t have seen five plus years ago.
We don’t know what the solutions are, but I do think that we teachers need to sit down and create a list of developmentally appropriate behaviors and standards of conduct for each grade that need to be followed and stick to our guns.
I think a missing element of this conversation is trauma. We know that kids with high ACEs have trouble managing impulsive behavior and their emotions generally, they have a hard time concentrating and engaging with other students.
The last two to three years have been traumatic for us all.
Us all is the operative phrase. It’s really unfair to ask adults that have been through hell and back to sacrifice more of their fragile sanity to fix problems they can’t fix while they get zero support.
Also, we teachers aren’t mental health specialist that are equipped to deal with student trauma, so any issues should be a referral to someone that can help instead of a bandaid and an impossible work environment.
I have the brain fog memory problems sleeping problems anxiety and depression, a lot of what people describe as a the long covid symptoms. I don't know if I ever had covid I've pretty much been a hermit during the pandemic. I still don't know if I ever had covid but I'm a different man than I was before the pandemic. I myself have definetly experienced a decrease in over all maturity more rage less control over my emotions, crazy risk taking behavior, crazy emotional outbursts. I don't know if I had covid but I do know I spend too much time on reddit which is like the equivlant healthwise of eating chocolate covered bacon for all my meals, and the world changing has had a profound effect on me and changed me.
You can't teach kids and expect them to just forget that the social contract has been shredded.
I think the entire country (let alone the world) has been operating under very stressful conditions brought on by the pandemic.
I think COVID has affected everyone - in so many ways. Either you lost a loved one. Were isolated. Lost your job. Total upheaval of every routine you ever had… and that happened to everyone so we are a bunch of crazies interfacing with other crazies going through similar if not worse conditions ..
Ouch. This hit a real deep nerve.
Any advice on how to reverse this? I've recently really felt...broken. Brcause of COVID and all that happened, all I lost. I don't want to be broken any more.
No way to reverse it. You can only move forward.
It's a mental trap thinking you can go back. A big part of healing is getting to the point where you can accept that
I had to sit down and tell myself that I was dead and when I woke up, a new me would be born. The pandemic along with witnessing a very violent suicide fucked me up. My personality changed and I used this method to cope. Feels like a weight off my shoulders. That said, if I start thinking of "who I was before" I'll get very tearful and anxious.
This "new me" feels more mature than before, more experienced, and generally more laid back. I gave myself the chance to wake up as a new person and decide what I wanted to do/be.
Even without trauma, you're never "you" or who you were earlier because you're experiencing new things, thinking and growing constantly and physically you change. Your cells die and refresh, new ones form. Neurones in your brain develop and connect.
There is a "you" in the moment, but from my perspective the you today isn't the same you from yesterday, the week before, the month before, ect.
Maybe it's because we find comfort in familiarity that we get scared and anxious about this, but each time you change or develop you get the chance to do things differently and be a better, more efficient you than before.
Head up champ.
Amen. Change is death and life in one.
As with all skills, practice. Make appointments and orders over the phone or in person. Go to a real cashier. Talk about the weather. Tell someone you like their shirt. These basic things can feel like a lot to some people. If you're already there, practice things like agreeableness, perspective, forgiveness, being conscious of how your words or actions may make others feel, being open to being corrected, and being open to changing your mind.
Yes and no, when looking at things very broadly we can get close to what normal was. However on the smaller scale we can never go back to normal. Covid was something that changed everyone, whether they deny its existence; got covid; or never got the virus, it changed everyone as such the old normal simply doesn't exist anymore.
"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man."
Work it like the stages of grief and understand it's not linear where, say, you'll completely leave behind the anger stage to move on to a new stage. You'll be moving back and forth, sometimes rapidly, but eventually work towards acceptance.
If you can afford it... therapy. It's not a quick fix, but it is helpful.
The loneliness combined with the increased information overload we were exposed to by spending more time on our phones cannot have brought about any positives.
A research team led by faculty at the Florida State University College of Medicine found the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to cause personality changes, especially in younger adults.
The research, published in PLOS ONE, found that the population-wide stressor of the pandemic made younger adults moodier, more prone to stress, less cooperative and trusting and less restrained and responsible.
“We do not know yet whether these changes are temporary or will be lasting, but if they do persist, they could have long-term implications,” said Angelina Sutin, a professor in the college’s Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine and the study’s lead author. “Neuroticism and conscientiousness predict mental and physical health, as well as relationships and educational and occupational outcomes, and the changes observed in these traits could increase risk of worse outcomes.”
I mean we were literally cut off from the things that allow us to mature and develop our personalities in a healthy way. It’s good that research is showing that it’s not just *us*, it’s the situation we endured.
That describes the entire population under pandemic conditions, also it's not decreased maturity, becoming neurotic and disagreeable when your life is under constant jeopardy is a normal reaction.
Longitudinal studies on the effects of the pandemic are going to be really challenging given that it is virtually impossible to have a good control group. The best you can do is look at pre-pandemic trajectories (which they did) or use comparisons that makes assumptions about exposure intensity (compare people that had more Covid restrictions or bad events to those who had less). Both of these methods have major issues.
Still an interesting study and fortunate they had this existing longitudinal study to tap into.
Putting people in isolation and in a state of heightened anxiety will do that. The world basically went through civilian-side war time conditions but without the social support networks to mitigate that effect. The result is a lot of people lost the socialization that was holding them together.
We need to remind people that there is goodness and kindness out there. Wet her to get people back to remembering what life is like when we’re not all at each others throats.
This article is a bit sparse on information it seems. Could it have been the ridiculous divisiveness pushed along with the pandemic instead of people coming together during a time of mutual need and suffering? I understand the virus has certain neurological side effects, but I think there was much more outside of COVID affecting families and mental states across the board. From a psychological study I'd expect more consideration about the effects of the media during a time where people were more apt to be focused on it.
Young people are constantly being bombarded with divisive politics, climate change doom and gloom, social media and body image fakery, high cost of living…. This particular mix of external influences is unprecedented.
How much was the pandemic and how much was the political and social nonsense pervasive in the US?
And financial strain tbh. All of the above was already stressing me prior to the pandemic, and the pandemic itself was the fire to gasoline of making me feel completely unraveled.
Slowed down enough to see the glaring issues with U.S. socioeconomic division of ultra rich and workers; also witnessing mass death and the related gaslighting. All that without easy access to social supports…
I mean, yea, obviously. Humans are generally social. More introverted people definitely handled this better than the rest of us, but overall we are “political animals” according to that old Greek dude.