During the lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people tried to compensate for limited face-to-face interaction by increasing digital communication. Results of a four-week experience sampling study in the German-speaking countries (N = 411 participants; k = 9791 daily questionnaires) suggest, however, that digital communication was far less relevant for lockdown mental health than face-to-face communication. Digital text-based communication (e.g., e-mail, WhatsApp, SMS) nevertheless was meaningfully associated with mental health, and both face-to-face and digital text communication were more predictive of mental health than either physical or outdoor activity. Our results underscore the importance of face-to-face communication for mental health. Our results also suggest that videoconferencing was only negligibly associated with mental health, despite providing more visual and audible cues than digital text communication.
|Publication status||Published - 17 May 2023|