Time and Emotion During Lockdown and the Covid-19 Epidemic: Determinants of Our Experience of Time?

Abstract

To fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease, more than 3 billion people in the world have been confined indoors. Although lockdown is an efficient solution, it has had various psychological consequences that have not yet been fully measured. During the lockdown period in France, we conducted two surveys on two large panels of participants to examine how the lockdown disrupted their relationship with time and what this change in their experiences of time means. Numerous questions were asked about the experience of time but also the nature of life during the lockdown: the emotions felt, boredom, the activities performed, sleep quality, and the daily rhythm. The participants also completed a series of self-reported scales used to assess depression, anxiety, and impulsivity. The results showed that time seemed to pass more slowly during the lockdown compared to before. This feeling of a slowing down of time has little to do with living conditions during the lockdown and individual psychological characteristics. The main predictor of this time experience was boredom and partly mediated by the lack of activity. The feeling of being less happy and the presence of sleep disturbance also explained this specific experience of time albeit to a lesser extent.

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