Title of Abstract

Student Mental Health during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Comparison of 2021 and 2022 Data

Poster Number

29

Session Title

Poster Session 1

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Sarah Reiland, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Mental health concerns have increased in the general population recently as the world has grappled with covid-19. College students have also faced increased mental health problems. 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 the relationship between mental health, perceived stressors, optimism, and perceived support. We collected data in a two-week period in the spring of 2021 (n = 69) and again in the same two-week period in the spring of 2022 (n = 62). While the number of positive screens for moderate to severe depression remained relatively stable from 2021 to 2022, significantly more students screened positive for moderate to severe anxiety in the 2022 sample (71.0%) compared to the 2021 sample (53.6%). In both samples, higher depression and anxiety scores were related to lower optimism, lower coping self-efficacy, and greater number of perceived stressors related to covid-19. Additional variables that were related to higher depression and/or anxiety in at least one of the samples are also presented. Comparing data across the two samples, the 2022 sample rated their stress about politics to be significantly lower compared to the 2021 sample; however, the 2022 sample had a higher mean rating for the negative effect of covid-19 on their family’s health. While correlational in nature, these preliminary findings suggest that efforts to increase optimism and coping-self-efficacy are warranted. Efforts to improve mental health are sorely needed.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Student Mental Health during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Comparison of 2021 and 2022 Data

Mental health concerns have increased in the general population recently as the world has grappled with covid-19. College students have also faced increased mental health problems. 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 the relationship between mental health, perceived stressors, optimism, and perceived support. We collected data in a two-week period in the spring of 2021 (n = 69) and again in the same two-week period in the spring of 2022 (n = 62). While the number of positive screens for moderate to severe depression remained relatively stable from 2021 to 2022, significantly more students screened positive for moderate to severe anxiety in the 2022 sample (71.0%) compared to the 2021 sample (53.6%). In both samples, higher depression and anxiety scores were related to lower optimism, lower coping self-efficacy, and greater number of perceived stressors related to covid-19. Additional variables that were related to higher depression and/or anxiety in at least one of the samples are also presented. Comparing data across the two samples, the 2022 sample rated their stress about politics to be significantly lower compared to the 2021 sample; however, the 2022 sample had a higher mean rating for the negative effect of covid-19 on their family’s health. While correlational in nature, these preliminary findings suggest that efforts to increase optimism and coping-self-efficacy are warranted. Efforts to improve mental health are sorely needed.