First-Generation College Students’ Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Soria et al. / Journal of First-generation Student Success / August 2022

Stressed male student holds head while seated at desk with laptop computer

The authors analyzed data from 7,269 first-generation college students enrolled at nine large, public research-intensive universities who completed the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) COVID-19 survey. In their sample, 40.3% of first-generation students experienced clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) and 44.6% experienced clinically significant symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)—figures higher than national averages. The authors discuss several individual, interpersonal, institutional, health and safety, and academic and financial stressors that were associated with first-generation students’ clinically significant MDD and GAD symptoms.

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