Social Isolation and Adverse Mental Health Outcomes Among College Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Health Sciences & Nursing, Gordon E. Inman College of
Public Health, Department of
BURS Faculty Advisor
Dr. Christian Williams
Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019, its rapid spread and subsequent societal impacts – including but not limited to working from home and remote learning – have led to an increased experience of isolation and adverse mental health outcomes. Young adults and college students have been underrepresented in mental health research during the pandemic, although they are arguably at greater risk than other age groups due to the developmental need for peer socialization during this life stage. This mixed methods research was developed with the aims of (a) measuring self-reported social isolation among college students, both remote and in-person; (b) measuring self-reported mental health outcomes as students return to an in-person college experience; and (c) determining if increased feelings of social isolation corelated with adverse mental health outcomes. For three weeks between February and March of 2022, 106 college students enrolled at Belmont University completed an online survey to assess their perceived loneliness and self-reported mental health. Based on pilot data, it is hypothesized that a positive correlation will be found between loneliness and the adverse outcomes depression, anxiety, and stress. The results of data analysis will be available by the time of the Belmont University Research Symposium. The personal and social development of young adults is at a unique risk during this time, and the implications of this research are vital to inform mental health programming and provide effective support as the pandemic continues to unfold.
O'Brien, Celeste, "Social Isolation and Adverse Mental Health Outcomes Among College Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2022). Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS). 54.