Vandal Practices as a Psychological Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic


Vandalism can be seen as a form of individual self-realization and expression of the individual and collective responses to change. In this paper, we intend to look at the meaning and motivations behind acts of vandalism. We also aim to classify cases of vandalism that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, we analyzed 80 cases of vandalism related to the COVID-19. The information was obtained from open online sources: publications in online communities and media found through the use of hashtags #COVID-19 and #vandalism. As a result, five categories of vandalism were identified: (a) vandalism as a mechanism of adaptation to change; (b) vandalism as a coping strategy; (c) vandalism as an unconscious defensive reaction to a threatening situation; (d) vandalism as resistance to change; and (e) vandalism as a reflection of the sense of social injustice. We found that vandalism during the pandemic was used mostly as a way of adaptation to change and as a coping strategy. Moreover, our findings have also demonstrated that social instability and transitivity in the crisis period stimulate people to rethink the current social order and search for new social forms, structures, and principles.

Author Biographies

Olga V. Kruzhkova, Ural State Pedagogical University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Olga V. Kruzhkova is Candidate of Sciences in Psychology, Associate Professor, Head of the Laboratory for Advanced Socio-Environmental Research, Ural State Pedagogical University, Yekaterinburg, Russia. She is a leading researcher in the field of psychology of vandalism in Russia, a coordinator of research projects on the study of urban space and its vandal damage. Her main publications include: Vandalizm kak forma zashchitnogo i sovladaiushchego povedeniia podrostka [Vandalism as a Form of Protective and Coping Behavior of a Teenager] (co-authored, 2016); Funktsii vandalizma v molodezhnom povedenii: ot lichnosti k obshchestvu [Functions of Vandalism in Youth Behaviour: From Personality to Society] (co-authored, 2018).

Irina A. Simonova, Ural State Pedagogical University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Irina A. Simonova is Candidate of Sciences in Philosophy, Associate Professor, Department of Pedagogy and Pedagogical Comparative Study, Ural State Pedagogical University, Yekaterinburg, Russia. She is a coordinator of youth study projects in such areas as strategies of youth mobility and non-institutional politicization, self-organized practices of young people. Her main publications include: Sklonnost’ k sotsial’nomu serfingu sredi molodezhi Rossii: regional’naia spetsifika [Propensity for Social Surfing among the Russian Youth: Regional Specificity] (co-authored, 2021); Affective Power of Vandalism: Youth Vandal Practices within the Concept of Affective Labor (2019).

Anastasia O. Ljovkina, Tyumen State University, Tyumen, Russia

Anastasia O. Ljovkina is Candidate of Sciences in Economics, Professor, Department of Economic Security, System Analysis and Control, University of Tyumen, Vice-Director of the Financial-Economic Institute, Director of the Center of Arctic Initiatives since 2018. Her main publications include: Vandalism COVID-19_cases catalogue V2, (co-authored, 2020); How to Make Digitalization Better Serve an Increasing Quality of Life? (co-authored, 2021).

Marina S. Krivoshchekova, Ural State Pedagogical University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Marina S. Krivoshchekova is Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, Associate Professor, Department of Professionally-Oriented Language Education, Ural State Pedagogical University, Yekaterinburg, Russia. She deals with practical aspects in studying foreign languages. Among her main publications are: Rol' faktorov "Temnoi triady" v motivatsionnoi gotovnosti k vandal'nomu povedeniiu studentov [The Role of the “Dark Triad” Factors in Motivational Readiness for Vandal Behavior of Students] (co-authored, 2019); Detsko-roditel'skie otnosheniia kak predikty finansovykh otnoshenii molodezhi [Child-parent Relations as Predictors of Financial Relations among Young People] (co-authored, 2020).


How to Cite
Kruzhkova, O., Simonova, I., Ljovkina, A., & Krivoshchekova, M. (2021). Vandal Practices as a Psychological Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Changing Societies & Personalities, 5(3), 452–480. doi:10.15826/csp.2021.5.3.145