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J Am Coll Health ; : 1-3, 2022 Feb 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705602


Objectives To assess levels of psychological distress among a group of US undergraduate college students during the initial phases of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Methods: All undergraduates at Kent State University were surveyed in three randomly selected cohorts on March 18, March 25, and April 1, yielding 3924 valid responses for the weighted dataset (73.8% female, 88.9% White). Distress was assessed using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6). Data were weighted using known population counts. Results: K6 scores averaged 8.19 ± 5.9, with 44.3% in the moderately elevated range and 23.8% above the cutoff for severe psychological distress.Conclusions: A high proportion of undergraduate university students reported elevated psychological distress as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded. K6 scores appeared higher than averages from comparison samples. Targeted surveillance can inform public health in mitigating threats to mental health conferred by pandemics. Colleges and universities should anticipate sharply elevated psychological distress during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Int J Behav Med ; 29(4): 524-529, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1465915


BACKGROUND: Pandemics can generate considerable distress, which can affect prevention behaviors. Resilience may buffer the negative effects of distress on engagement in relevant prevention behaviors, which may also hold true for COVID-19 prevention behaviors. The objective of the current study was to evaluate whether resilience moderated the relationship between distress and COVID-19 prevention behaviors early in the pandemic. METHODS: Data were collected via surveys in which all students at a large midwestern university were emailed invitations beginning March 18, 2020. Surveys were completed by 5,530 individuals. In addition to demographic questions and items about COVID-19 prevention behaviors, distress was assessed using the K6 Distress Scale and resilience using the Brief Resilience Scale. Data were analyzed using moderator regression analysis. RESULTS: Resilience moderates the effects from distress to prevention behaviors, such that the relationship was stronger for individuals with higher resilience than for individuals with lower resilience. When resilience was one standard deviation below the mean, at the mean value of resilience, and when resilience was one standard deviation above the mean, there was a significant positive relationship between distress and COVID-19 prevention behaviors. However, the relationship was strongest for those with high resilience, and lowest for those with low resilience. CONCLUSIONS: In the current sample, resilience appeared to influence the strength of the relationship between distress and COVID-19 prevention behaviors. Having higher resilience may promote positive adaptation to distress, leading individuals to engage in a greater number of disease-related prevention behaviors. Future research should examine this relationship longitudinally and in relation to differing constructs of resilience.

COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/psychology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Resilience, Psychological/physiology , Humans , Stress, Psychological , Students , Universities
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity ; : No Pagination Specified, 2021.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-1078398


The ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may be the greatest global biopsychosocial stressor in living memory, and there is widespread anticipation of a "mental health pandemic." Hardly mentioned, if ever, during the current COVID-19 pandemic is the effect on gender diverse (GD) populations. Using a novel approach, we address this gap in the current literature by comparing resilience, psychological distress, and perceived risk in a sample of college students at a public, R1, 4-year university. The survey included demographic questions, the Brief Resilience Scale, the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, and self-reported risk of contracting COVID-19. GD individuals (n = 83) were matched with male (n = 83) and female (n = 83) peers on survey cohort (1, 2, or 3), White versus Non-White, age category, and student status (undergraduate vs. graduate). GD individuals reported lower psychological resilience (M = 2.88, SD = 0.93) than both male (M = 3.57, SD = 0.81) and female (M = 3.37, SD = 0.83) students, higher psychological distress (M = 12.33, SD = 6.04) than both males (M = 6.7, SD = 5.76) and females (M = 8.70, SD = 6.57), and similar perceived risk (p = .54). Nearly half (48.2%) of GD individuals were above the cutoff for severe psychological distress. During the unprecedented events of the novel coronavirus pandemic, students in higher education settings are facing tremendous biopsychosocial stress. GD students had very high levels of psychological distress relative to their male and female peers during the pandemic and may need additional support and expanded access to treatment. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Impact Statement Findings of a university community survey conducted during the novel coronavirus pandemic indicated that gender diverse (GD) students had very high levels of psychological distress. As the pandemic unfolded, GD students' distress was higher than that of their male and female peers, which was partly due to lower psychological resilience. As students begin returning to campuses for the Fall 2020 semester, GD students may be at increased risk of mental disorders and may need additional mental health support. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)