Title of Abstract

Pervasiveness of COVID Thoughts and Anxiety in Young Adults

Poster Number

14

Submitting Student(s)

Aliya Busbee
Diamond McKelvey

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

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Abstract

We focused on college students, many of whom had financial burdens and susceptibility to COVID as a result of communal living. We hypothesized that we would see the presence of COVID-related thoughts and anxiety, predicting decreased levels of happiness, resilience, self-esteem, and sensitivity to criticism. We also anticipated finding higher levels of procrastination. We thought these negative outcomes would be worse for student-athletes and student-dancers, who were under increased performance pressure. Participants were 83 adults with a mean age of 22.22 (SD=6.20). The majority identified as women (74%), and the sample was evenly split between African American and Caucasian adults. Participants responded to scales to assess resilience, sensitivity to criticism, procrastination, happiness, and COVID anxiety. Results revealed high levels of COVID-related anxiety and thoughts, and these levels were consistent across gender, race, and participation in extra-curricular activities. COVID thoughts occurred more frequently than did anxiety about COVID death, an outcome that makes sense given that young adults are less likely to die from COVID than older adults. Although COVID experiences were similar across young adults, women and those who were more anxious about COVID reported more negative outcomes. Somewhat surprisingly, we found that the more anxious people were about COVID, the less they thought about it. Perhaps denial was an intentional coping strategy for this group.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Pervasiveness of COVID Thoughts and Anxiety in Young Adults

We focused on college students, many of whom had financial burdens and susceptibility to COVID as a result of communal living. We hypothesized that we would see the presence of COVID-related thoughts and anxiety, predicting decreased levels of happiness, resilience, self-esteem, and sensitivity to criticism. We also anticipated finding higher levels of procrastination. We thought these negative outcomes would be worse for student-athletes and student-dancers, who were under increased performance pressure. Participants were 83 adults with a mean age of 22.22 (SD=6.20). The majority identified as women (74%), and the sample was evenly split between African American and Caucasian adults. Participants responded to scales to assess resilience, sensitivity to criticism, procrastination, happiness, and COVID anxiety. Results revealed high levels of COVID-related anxiety and thoughts, and these levels were consistent across gender, race, and participation in extra-curricular activities. COVID thoughts occurred more frequently than did anxiety about COVID death, an outcome that makes sense given that young adults are less likely to die from COVID than older adults. Although COVID experiences were similar across young adults, women and those who were more anxious about COVID reported more negative outcomes. Somewhat surprisingly, we found that the more anxious people were about COVID, the less they thought about it. Perhaps denial was an intentional coping strategy for this group.