Psychological stress and post-traumatic growth from COVID-19

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This pandemic is stressful for billions of people around the globe. Everyone deals with stress and fear differently. But those heavy feelings can also come with silver linings. 

Associate psychology professor Darby Saxbe says, “There’s something about having a collective experience that everyone is going through at the same time that can actually really bring neighborhoods and society together. The irony, of course, is that in the midst of this pandemic, we’re staying far apart from each other, and yet at the same time, I think people are connecting like never before.” 

People are connecting at home by playing puzzles, or virtually by taking remote classes or scheduling online happy hours.

COVID-19 might also shift perspectives through something called post-traumatic growth. 

“Being forced to reckon with something threatening makes us understand what’s meaningful and what our values really are,” Saxbe says. 



  • Darby Saxbe - Associate professor of psychology and director of USC's Center for the Changing Family