Since 2020, the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To limit the spread of the virus, many countries ordered lockdowns, leading to occupational disruption.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of lockdown on occupational competence and values.
Participants in northern hemisphere French-speaking countries completed the Occupational Self-Assessment before and during the spring 2020 lockdown.
Occupational competence decreased significantly during lockdown (p<0.01). People with private external access had higher competence scores during lockdown than those without (p<0.01). Also, an effect of the country of residence was found on occupational competence that differed before and during lockdown. Before lockdown, people living in Canada had a higher occupational competence score than those living in France (p<0.01). During lockdown, people living in Switzerland had a higher occupational competence score (M=58.52, SD 12.41) than those living in France (p<0.01) and Belgium (p<0.01). The value score remained the same during and before lockdown but the results of the study, in terms of the importance attached to occupations, highlight changes suggesting a reshaping of the personal value system. During lockdown, participants appeared to attach more importance to activities related to satisfaction, enjoyment and actualization at the expense of occupations relating to managing life and relationships.
Lockdown had a significant impact on people’s occupational competence and the environment within which the lockdown was experienced contributed to this perception. This recent change in occupational competence could have long-term implications, especially on the internal value system.