Title of Abstract

Student Mental Health in the Time of Covid-19

Poster Number

01

Faculty Mentor

One WU mentor: Sarah Reiland, Ph.D.; reilands@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Sarah Reiland, Ph.D.

Abstract

Mental health concerns have increased in the general population in the last year as the world has struggled to lessen the spread of covid-19. College students are not immune to this increase in anxiety and depressive feelings. In fact, rates of depressive and anxiety disorders had already been increasing in young people prior to the pandemic. This study sought to assess mental health and examine the relationship between mental health, perceived stressors, optimism, and perceived support. In our sample of 69 college students, 21 (30.4%) screened positive for moderate to severe depression on the PHQ-9 and 37 (53.6%) screened positive for moderate to severe anxiety using the GAD-7. Higher depression and anxiety scores were related to lower optimism, lower coping self-efficacy, a greater number of perceived stressors related to covid-19, lower mood ratings, and having a family member’s health affected by covid-19. In addition to these relationships, higher depression scores were related to lower perceived support from family members, greater stress related to politics, and greater stress related to social justice issues in the past year. Unique correlates of anxiety scores included financial stress related to covid-19, concerns about one’s family’s financial security during the pandemic, and a greater perception that one’s anxiety has increased due to the pandemic. Unexpectedly, support from friends or people outside one’s family was not related to mental health in this sample. While correlational in nature, these preliminary findings suggest that efforts to increase optimism, coping-self-efficacy, and financial resources are warranted.

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Start Date

16-4-2021 11:30 AM

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Apr 16th, 11:30 AM

Student Mental Health in the Time of Covid-19

Mental health concerns have increased in the general population in the last year as the world has struggled to lessen the spread of covid-19. College students are not immune to this increase in anxiety and depressive feelings. In fact, rates of depressive and anxiety disorders had already been increasing in young people prior to the pandemic. This study sought to assess mental health and examine the relationship between mental health, perceived stressors, optimism, and perceived support. In our sample of 69 college students, 21 (30.4%) screened positive for moderate to severe depression on the PHQ-9 and 37 (53.6%) screened positive for moderate to severe anxiety using the GAD-7. Higher depression and anxiety scores were related to lower optimism, lower coping self-efficacy, a greater number of perceived stressors related to covid-19, lower mood ratings, and having a family member’s health affected by covid-19. In addition to these relationships, higher depression scores were related to lower perceived support from family members, greater stress related to politics, and greater stress related to social justice issues in the past year. Unique correlates of anxiety scores included financial stress related to covid-19, concerns about one’s family’s financial security during the pandemic, and a greater perception that one’s anxiety has increased due to the pandemic. Unexpectedly, support from friends or people outside one’s family was not related to mental health in this sample. While correlational in nature, these preliminary findings suggest that efforts to increase optimism, coping-self-efficacy, and financial resources are warranted.