Three-Layered Psychological Analysis of an Epidemic: Impact and Legacy of Covid-19

Francesca Granier, Federica Pantaleo, Lorenzo Ielapi, Giorgio Soverchia


The global emergency caused by the spread of virus known as “Covid-19” caught many people by surprise, revealing the precariousness not only of health, but also of many other areas of our life, such as relationships, the economy, politics or the environment. The purpose of this article is to explore broadly how quarantine and the perception of the virus influenced, in an interconnected way, the emotions and behaviors of individuals, society and the human species. From a symbolic and psychodynamic point of view, the COVID-19 can be considered as an unknown, unpredictable and invisible enemy. Due to its indefinite nature, individuals and societies have put in place special defense mechanisms to defend themselves from an intolerable state of uncertainty and anguish. From a broader point of view, the arrival of Covid-19 consists in a breach in the human illusion of omnipotence. It has put humanity in front of its limit and weakness. This unpleasant contact opens the way to an uncertain future. Change seems inevitable, but the nature of it is still unknown. Whether it will be a regressive or evolutionary transformation will depend only on us, as individuals, societies and species.


Covid-19; defense mechanisms; complexity theory; eco-psycho-dynamics

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