Face-to-face more important than digital communication for mental health during the pandemic

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

5 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8022
Pages (from-to)8022
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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