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A mixed-methods investigation of COVID-19 pandemic-specific stress in college students

Dolbier et al. / Journal of American College Health /

Black female student covid-19 stress

This study identifies pandemic-specific stressors among students and compares stressor patterns during early and chronic pandemic phases. Different undergraduate student samples from a Southeastern university completed an online survey in Spring 2020 (early pandemic; N = 673) and Fall 2020 (chronic pandemic; N = 439). This repeated cross-sectional survey study used a mixed methods triangulation design to validate and expand on quantitative findings using qualitative data. Quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed 13 pandemic stressor domains, with academics and lifestyle adjustment among the most stressful in both samples, and more stressful in the chronic pandemic sample. Non-freshmen, female, and first-generation college students were at greater risk for pandemic stress. As college students continue to experience stressors related to COVID-19 and encounter future crises, colleges and universities must adapt to meet their unique needs specific to the context.