For the Greater Good? The Devastating Ripple Effects of the Lockdown Measures

Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 2626. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577740

31 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2020 Last revised: 19 May 2021

See all articles by Michaéla Schippers

Michaéla Schippers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management

Date Written: May 28, 2020


As the crisis around COVID-19 evolves, it becomes clear that there are numerous negative side- effects of the lockdown strategies implemented by many countries. Currently, more evidence becomes available that the lockdowns may have more negative effects than positive effects. For instance, many measures taken in a lockdown aimed at protecting human life may compromise the immune system, and purpose in life, especially of vulnerable groups. This leads to the paradoxical situation of compromising the immune system and physical and mental health of many people, including the ones we aim to protect. Also, it is expected that hundreds of millions of people will die from hunger and postponed medical treatments. Other side effects include financial insecurity of billions of people, physical and mental health problems, and increased inequalities. The economic and health repercussions of the crisis will be falling disproportionately on young workers, low-income families and women, and thus exacerbate existing inequalities. As the virus outbreak and media coverage spread fear and anxiety, superstition, cognitive dissonance reduction and conspiracy theories are ways to find meaning and reduce anxiety. These behavioral aspects may play a role in the continuance of lockdown decisions. Based on theories regarding agnotology (i.e. the ways ignorance or doubt about certain topics is created by means of withholding or presenting information in a certain way), social influence, superstition and stress and coping, I seek to explain the social and behavioral aspects of human behavior in times of crises. Both the COVID-19 crisis itself as well as the resulting economic and (mental) health crisis are global problems that may require global solutions. I present a model of drivers and outcomes of lockdown behaviors and offer suggestions and a tool to counteract the negative psychological effects by means of online life crafting therapeutic writing interventions.

Keywords: COVID-19 crisis, coping, agnotology, disrupted supply chains, conspiracy theories, social influence, increased inequalities, life crafting

Suggested Citation

Schippers, Michaela, For the Greater Good? The Devastating Ripple Effects of the Lockdown Measures (May 28, 2020). Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 2626. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577740, Available at SSRN: or

Michaela Schippers (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management ( email )

RSM Erasmus University
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam

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