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01-06-2021 | Issue 2/2021

Social Justice Research 2/2021

Can Personality Traits Predict Depression during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Journal:
Social Justice Research > Issue 2/2021
Authors:
Gabriel Nudelman, Shanmukh Vasant Kamble, Kathleen Otto
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Abstract

The emotional costs of the COVID-19 pandemic have raised concerns among clinicians and scholars. The goal of the current study was to test whether or not neuroticism, conscientiousness, and personal belief in a just world are associated with depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the contribution of neuroticism and conscientiousness was assessed over and above demographic variables and COVID-19 perceptions, and the unique contribution of personal belief in a just world was evaluated beyond all the other study variables. Samples were collected in three different countries—Israel (N = 917), Germany (N = 213), and India (N = 160). Online self-report questionnaires were utilized to measure age, gender, COVID-19 perceptions (probability, severity, and self-efficacy), neuroticism, conscientiousness, personal belief in a just world, and depression. The findings indicated that, across the three countries, neuroticism was positively associated with depression (correlations ranging from .24 to .44), and conscientiousness and personal belief in a just world were negatively associated with depression (correlations ranging from − .31 to − .21, and from − .35 to − .23, respectively). Moreover, neuroticism and conscientiousness explained unique variance over and above demographic variables and COVID-19 perceptions (except conscientiousness in India), and the effect of personal belief in a just world on depression was significant beyond the effects of all other study variables. These findings support the role of personality in explaining depression regardless of situational characteristics and stress the role of just world beliefs as protective factors against negative emotions.

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