A Critical Review Of Psychological And Behavioral Responses To Coronavirus Disease 2019


The research utilizes seven hypotheses from the big five personality traits and the behavior that people have been portraying since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The concerns have been made regarding contracting the deadly respiratory virus, regulations enacted to prevent the spread of the virus, the preparatory behaviors of the individuals, and the consequences of the pandemic. The first hypothesis is that individuals with more concern will portray higher neuroticism. Second, individuals with higher neuroticism will get involved with the preparatory behavior related to the pandemic. Third, individuals with higher conscientiousness will engage in the preparatory behavior associated with the pandemic. Fourth, people with higher neuroticism will follow the precautions to avoid contacting COVID-19. Fifth, individuals with higher conscientiousness will follow the precautions set to avoid contacting COVID-19. Sixth, higher neuroticism will predict pessimistic estimates regarding the duration of the pandemic. Lastly, higher extraversion will predict pessimistic estimates regarding the pandemic period.


The research used a quantitative research design where the participants were recruited to complete a compensated survey on an online platform named Dynata. The method used involves the selection of the participants the meet the set criteria of being over 18 years and residing in the USA. The study focused on recruiting individuals who have not been infected by the COVID-19 virus to be able to meet the requirements of the hypothesis being tested. Furthermore, the research design ensured that personality traits are not biased by having equal distribution of gender. This was attained by the implementation of the stratified sampling design.


The research utilized a multiple linear regression to predict the personality trait’s behavioral and psychological responses. The model used is divided into two; the first used ethnicity, education, age, race, and gender as the covariates. In the second model, income was added to improve the prediction level of the personality. Furthermore, binary logistic regression was also used to determine the relationship between the individual outcomes and personal traits. The multiple linear regression and the binary logistic regression model are significant as they are suitable for predicting personality traits.

Answering Hypothesis

In this research, only four out of the seven hypotheses were answered. This includes the association of more concern and higher neuroticism, more precaution associated with high conscientiousness, and higher extraversion related to optimistic estimates of COVID-19 duration. Furthermore, higher neuroticism was associated with pessimistic estimates of COVID-19 duration. The research study did not meet the other three hypotheses as the outcomes from the research result could not provide the relationship. The researcher argued that the study could not support the hypothesis and hence could not be justified.


Similar to other research, the study had various limitations that affected the outcome. First, the pre-test and post-test link may have affected the research outcome because of the selection strategy. This limitation influences the generalization of the finding. Furthermore, the participants were mainly from the United States of America, and this provides a gap as to whether the same findings can be applied to the rest of the population. This is affected by varying patterns between various populations from different parts of the world. Second, the questionnaire did not assess critical variables such as the knowledge regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. This variable has a significant impact on guiding the participants’ behavior. Lastly, the outcomes of the study were self-reported and broad. This is a significant limitation as individuals may tend to provide untruthful information.

Future Suggestions

The research suggests the usage of objective methods during data collection on personality. The use of mobile sensing devices will help refine the understanding of personality and pandemic behaviors. This will be important because it will record the relationship between the sound of the individual and the response that they are using to determine the potential response. Also, future investigations should utilize mediators such as emotion regulation consumption, preparedness, and hedonic consumption. This will help understand the participant’s behavior regarding a given choice.


Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019, many people have had various perspectives regarding the changes made to their lifestyles. The personality trait plays a critical role in explaining people’s behavioral responses during this period. The topic of psychological and behavioral reactions to Coronavirus and the role of personality has received excellent attention from various researchers. The variation in the patterns of behaviors, feelings, and thoughts significantly impacts how individuals respond and conduct themselves. The behavior patterns greatly vary from one individual to another, even when significant pressure is applied. Environmental conditions may shape them, but individual personality determines their outcome. The big five personality traits and their interactions result in varying responses when handling a situation that significantly impacts an individual’s lifestyle, such as a pandemic associated with concerns, precautions, preparatory behavior, and persistent problems.

Being concerned about an activity, event, or anything that significantly impacts one’s life is an essential measure for an individual. Individuals with high neuroticism and low conscientiousness are mostly concerned with health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those with low agreeableness, high extraversion, and neuroticism majorly focus on their finances as the period had a significant impact on the working conditions of many people worldwide (Kroencke et al., 2020). The effect of the pandemic on the US economy and the community raised concerns among people with high neuroticism since they are majorly associated with concerns that mainly impact their wellness in society. Individuals having this trait have significant consideration of things that affect their well-being leading to increased attention on such issues. On the other hand, individuals with conscientiousness and agreeableness personality traits usually demonstrate self-control and preparedness, making them not worried about economic changes. Additionally, they are generally pessimistic about the outcome, which makes them less concerned. Those portraying more significant concerns are vulnerable to mental problems such as loneliness as they experience a significant change in their lifestyle.

Precautions are in events with consequences, and individuals are guided to adhere to the set rules. They are usually for the well-being of a person, community, and society. During the COVID-19 pandemic, several precautions were set up by the government, such as the mandatory wearing of masks in public places, social distancing, and sanitization. These measures were meant to ensure the safety of everyone as the pandemic is deadly and claims life daily. Individuals having low neuroticism, high openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and extraversion significantly followed the COVID-19 precautions (Gray et al., 2020). Following the set precautions and guidelines were much higher in people with higher conscientiousness and lowered in individuals with high neuroticism. This shows that the personality trait of conscientiousness is essential in shaping people’s lives. This makes them work well in situations where regulations are mandatory and where they are not. It is rare for these people to be found in cases where regulations are breached because of the consciousness associated with this trait; hence it is necessary to encourage conscientiousness development.

Preparatory behaviors normally result when an issue requires attention or concern, and it may have a significant impact at the individual, community, or national level. COVID-19 has raised significant concern among many people worldwide that some people stock products that will help them face the ongoing challenge. An individual with extraversion traits is strongly linked with preparations for the pandemic, while those with high conscientiousness were less involved in the preparation procedures. Individuals with high conscientiousness stockpiled fewer COVID-19 management products because they have a sense of responsibility to the community that makes them care for others more than themselves. This makes them positive because they believe that problems have a limited time, and instead of collecting for one’s well-being, it is imperative to include other people. However, individuals with high extraversion traits may have stockpiled them in response to the set precaution (Aschwanden et al., 2020). This pandemic might have resulted in a significant problem that makes it difficult to follow the set guideline hence the need for maximum preparation. Additionally, this group followed the set precaution and guidelines practically well. This trait is essential as individuals possessing it can follow the established guidelines despite being in a challenging situation.

A persistent problem such as the COVID-19 pandemic has a negative impact on society. However, it takes strong people who believe in positivity to strive well when the problem is persistent and takes time before things return to normalcy. Individuals with high neuroticism traits are usually very pessimistic. It is challenging for them to believe that the problem has a life span and may end in due time. However, people with high extraversion and conscientiousness are very optimistic about the situation (Aschwanden et al., 2020). They believe that there will come a time that things will get back to normalcy, and this makes them strive well during this period as they become less prone to negative feelings. These traits are essential in handling day-to-day problems as they are associated with positive energy.

In conclusion, the big five personality traits have varying impacts on handling situations that are problematic to the individual. Being concerned about an issue that significantly affects one’s life is majorly associated with high neuroticism. This results in psychological problems such as loneliness because of putting a significant consideration on the issue. During the pandemic, various guidelines and precautions were set up to curb the spread of the virus. Individuals with low neuroticism, high openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and extraversion followed the precautions effectively. People with high conscientiousness traits significantly followed the precautions, which portrayed the importance of this trait in people. Preparatory behavior was perceived during this period among individuals with high extraversion traits because of the problem of adjusting to the new guidelines. These individuals show the need for preparation as they are used to being active and socializing. Lastly, individuals with high conscientiousness traits are more optimistic regarding the problem than those with high neuroticism as they direct their energy towards positive thinking.


Aschwanden, D., Strickhouser, J. E., Sesker, A. A., Lee, J. H., Luchetti, M., Stephan, Y., Sutin, A. R. & Terracciano, A. (2020). Psychological and behavioural responses to Coronavirus disease 2019: The role of personality. European Journal of Personality, 35(1), 51-66. Web.

Gray, N., O’Connor, C., Knowles, J., Pink, J., Simkiss, N., Williams, S., & Snowden, R. (2020). The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental well-being and psychological distress: Impact upon a single country. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, 1-12. Web.

Kroencke, L., Geukes, K., Utesch, T., Kuper, N., & Back, M. (2020). Neuroticism and emotional risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, 1-7.