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Differences in Definitions of Flourishing Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Linguistic Analysis

Esche, K. (2023) Differences in Definitions of Flourishing Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Linguistic Analysis.

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Abstract:The outbreak of COVID-19 impacted the global population in many ways, including citizens’ mental well-being and the occurrence of flourishing. Previous research on flourishing and its three defining components has suggested a decline of emotional, social and psychological well-being since the start of the pandemic, but studies were largely done on quantitative data. Explorations of qualitative data on flourishing also show little use of automatic analysis, like the linguistic analysis tool LIWC. This study focuses on comparing the differences in language use related to the three well-being components within flourishing definitions before and during the pandemic using LIWC. A repeated cross-sectional design with three independent German samples was used to extract qualitative data on definitions of flourishing in 2019, 2020 and 2021. A total of 232 participants gave responses from a layperson’s point of view. The data was analyzed through linguistic analysis using LIWC2015 and ANOVAs. The results showed slight variations between the frequencies of LIWC categories, but overall showed no differences related to either of the three well-being components in the definitions of flourishing between the three years. Only occupation appeared less relevant in flourishing definitions during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic levels. Flourishing definitions and the relevance of emotional, social and psychological well-being to its experience seem to remain stable despite adverse events such as the pandemic. The lower mention of occupation during the pandemic might be explained by the restrictions imposed in Germany. LIWC was fairly useful as an analysis tool within the framework of the well-being components, but social well-being was not measured in all aspects and the use of the German LIWC2001 dictionary restricted the measurement of psychological well-being, which should be considered in future applications.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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