COVID-19 pandemic effects on college student mental health: A cross-sectional cohort comparison study

Matthew J. Hirshberg, Blake Colaianne, Karen Kurotsuchi Inkelas, Godwill Oke, Natalia Van Doren, Richard J. Davidson, Robert W. Roeser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Evaluate COVID-19 pandemic impacts on college student mental health. Participants: Three cohorts of college students (2018 n = 466; 2019 n = 459; 2020, n = 563; N = 1488) from three American universities. Participants were 71.4% female, 67.5% White, and 85.9% first-year students. Methods: Multivariable regression models and bivariate correlations were used to compare anxiety, depression, well-being, and search for meaning before and during the pandemic, and the relationships between pandemic health-compliance behaviors and mental health. Results: Anxiety, depression, and well-being did not significantly worsen during compared to before (2019) the pandemic (ps =.329–.837). During the pandemic, more frequent in-person social interactions were correlated with lower anxiety (r = –0.17, p <.001) and depressive symptoms (r=-0.12, p =.008), and higher well-being (r = 0.16, p <.001), but also less handwashing (r = –0.11, p =.016) and face mask-wearing (r = –0.12, p =.008). Conclusions: We observed little evidence for pandemic impacts on college student mental health. Lower compliance with pandemic health guidelines was associated with better mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of American College Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'COVID-19 pandemic effects on college student mental health: A cross-sectional cohort comparison study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this