Time and Covid-19 stress in the lockdown situation: Time free, «Dying» of boredom and sadness

Sylvie Droit-Volet*, Sandrine Gil, Natalia Martinelli, Nicolas Andant, Maélys Clinchamps, Lénise Parreira, Karine Rouffiac, Michael Dambrun, Pascal Huguet, Benoît Dubuis, Bruno Pereira, Jean Baptiste Bouillon, Frédéric Dutheil, Julien Baker (Contributor), Covistress Network

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


A lockdown of people has been used as an efficient public health measure to fight against the exponential spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and allows the health system to manage the number of patients. The aim of this study (clinicaltrials.gov NCT 0430818) was to evaluate the impact of both perceived stress aroused by Covid-19 and of emotions triggered by the lockdown situation on the individual experience of time. A large sample of the French population responded to a survey on their experience of the passage of time during the lockdown compared to before the lockdown. The perceived stress resulting from Covid-19 and stress at work and home were also assessed, as were the emotions felt. The results showed that people have experienced a slowing down of time during the lockdown. This time experience was not explained by the levels of perceived stress or anxiety, although these were considerable, but rather by the increase in boredom and sadness felt in the lockdown situation. The increased anger and fear of death only explained a small part of variance in the time judgment. The conscious experience of time therefore reflected the psychological difficulties experienced during lockdown and was not related to their perceived level of stress or anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0236465
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • General


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