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Viktor Plokhikh, Liliia Suponeva

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying quarantine restrictions have changed the way people live. People find themselves in a situation of social deprivation, distance work and learning, anxiety, fear and stress. The specific attitudes and reactions of student youth to COVID-restrictions became relevant issues for the study. The purpose is to determine features of the psychological defenses activation in their connection with life time perspective organization of students in the terms of COVID-restrictions. The study includes 97 students in the six-month period before the COVID19 pandemic (group 1) and 87 students – 18 months later after the pandemic started (group 2). Such methods as "Lifestyle Index" (Plutchik, Kellerman); "Questionnaire of time perspective" (Zimbardo); "Styles of self-regulation of behavior" (Morosanova); "Internet Addiction Scale" (A. Zhichkin); "Predisposition to addictive behavior" (Mendelevich) were used in the study. Test subjects commented on the degree of concern about COVID-restrictions. The threats from COVID-19 in group 2 led to a relatively high level of activation of such psychological defenses as: denial (U=2604.50; p<.001); displacement (U=2236.00; p<.001); regression (U=2820.00; p<.001); substitution (U=1552.00; p<.001); intellectualization (U=3350.00; p=.016); reaction formations (U=3298.50; p=.011). One quarter of the subjects from group 2, who are most concerned about Covid-restrictions, have relatively the highest level of total stress protection (χ2=6,615; p=.037), compensation (χ2=7,399; p=.025), reaction formations (χ2=8,470; p=.015), the highest (primarily compared to moderately concerned subjects) focus on the Present Hedonistic (U=166.00; p=.031). Almost half of the subjects in group 2 with indifference to COVID-restrictions have the highest level of protection of displacement (χ2=9,811; p=.007) and intellectualization (χ2=7.423; p=.024). The students' psychological defenses under COVID-restrictions are reinforced along with overt or covert anxiety and worry, and are combined with numerous reinforcing connections to the Present Hedonistic and Present Fatalistic, and weakening connections to the Future. Indifference to COVID-restrictions in almost half of the subjects is accompanied by relatively highest activity of the defense of displacement and intellectualization. The high level of concern of COVID-restrictions of a quarter of the subjects is associated with high stress regression protection, compensation, reaction formations, expressiveness of orientation to the Present Hedonistic, increased likelihood of addiction (in particular, Internet addiction).
Keywords: stress / COVID restrictions / defenses activation / behavior / students / psychological defenses

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