The Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Feelings of Loneliness Among Extraverted and Introverted Adolescents in the Netherlands
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The spread of the COVID-19 virus has led to lockdowns and distancing measures, which resulted in drastic changes in social interaction of adolescents. This research is aimed at studying how the lack of social contacts during the pandemic may have influenced feelings of loneliness among Dutch adolescents, with a special focus on extraverts and introverts. Data from the longitudinal ‘YOUth Got Talent’-project was analyzed in this study. The sample contained 1471 male (41.3%) and female (55.7%) adolescents, aged 16 to 25 (Mage=17.85,.SD=1.95), from different MBO-schools in Utrecht. As predicted, feelings of loneliness increased over time. Also, significant results were found between W1 and W3 (p <.001), W1 and W2 (p <.010), meaning that there were more feelings of loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, than before, in 2019. These findings support the relation between increased feelings of loneliness, and distancing measures regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no support was found that extraverted adolescents experienced more loneliness in response to the lockdowns than introverted adolescents. Because this study focused on loneliness and extraversion during the pandemic, further research is needed to clarify the relationship between extraversion and social isolation, since there may be a difference.