Newswise — Research forthcoming in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that psychological recovery can take place even while a person is still in the throes of a stressful experience. That’s significant, says co-author Trevor Foulk, a management professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, as previous research has suggested that recovery processes start only after stressors abate and can take months or even years to unfold. “We have always tended to think that we’ll only get our sense of normalcy back when the stressor goes away.”
Foulk and co-researchers from the University of Southern California, Singapore Management University and the University of Florida surveyed 122 employees several times each day for two weeks to explore how they experienced the pandemic. The study, “Getting Back to the ‘New Normal’: Autonomy Restoration During a Global Pandemic,” began on March 16, 2020, just as stay-at-home orders and school closures went into effect across U.S. cities and states. The timing meant that researchers had a unique opportunity to study the very early days of the crisis.