Psychological well-being in Europe after the outbreak of war in Ukraine

Julian Scharbert, Sarah Humberg, Lara Kroencke, Thomas Reiter, Sophia Sakel, Julian ter Horst, Katharina Utesch, Samuel D. Gosling, Gabriella Harari, Sandra C. Matz, Ramona Schoedel, Clemens Stachl, Natalia M.A. Aguilar, Dayana Amante, Sibele D. Aquino, Franco Bastias, Alireza Bornamanesh, Chloe Bracegirdle, Luís A.M. Campos, Bruno ChauvinNicoleen Coetzee, Anna Dorfman, Monika dos Santos, Rita W. El-Haddad, Malgorzata Fajkowska, Asli Göncü-Köse, Augusto Gnisci, Stavros Hadjisolomou, William W. Hale, Maayan Katzir, Lili Khechuashvili, Alexander Kirchner-Häusler, Patrick F. Kotzur, Sarah Kritzler, Jackson G. Lu, Gustavo D.S. Machado, Khatuna Martskvishvili, Francesca Mottola, Martin Obschonka, Stefania Paolini, Marco Perugini, Odile Rohmer, Yasser Saeedian, Ida Sergi, Maor Shani, Ewa Skimina, Luke D. Smillie, Sanaz Talaifar, Thomas Talhelm, Tülüce Tokat, Ana Torres, Claudio V. Torres, Jasper Van Assche, Liuqing Wei, Aslı Yalçın, Maarten van Zalk, Markus Bühner, Mitja D. Back

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has had devastating effects on the Ukrainian population and the global economy, environment, and political order. However, little is known about the psychological states surrounding the outbreak of war, particularly the mental well-being of individuals outside Ukraine. Here, we present a longitudinal experience-sampling study of a convenience sample from 17 European countries (total participants = 1,341, total assessments = 44,894, countries with >100 participants = 5) that allows us to track well-being levels across countries during the weeks surrounding the outbreak of war. Our data show a significant decline in well-being on the day of the Russian invasion. Recovery over the following weeks was associated with an individual’s personality but was not statistically significantly associated with their age, gender, subjective social status, and political orientation. In general, well-being was lower on days when the war was more salient on social media. Our results demonstrate the need to consider the psychological implications of the Russo-Ukrainian war next to its humanitarian, economic, and ecological consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1202
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2024

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