Daijah Jones


Education: Bachelor of Arts in psychology (2022)

McNair Project: Depression, anxiety, and resilience among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic (2021)

Mentor: Barbara L. Pitts, Ph.D.

Mental health problems like depression and anxiety are more prevalent during pandemics (Palgi, 2020). College students, in particular, may be more susceptible to these symptoms due to their greater likelihood to experience negative emotions, such as loneliness, as well as altered academic policies and safety measures. These factors were evaluated to determine how they may serve as risk or resilience predictors of depression and anxiety in college students during the Covid-19 pandemic. Using an online survey, participants completed self-report measures assessing their depression and anxiety symptoms, and loneliness over the last year and within the last two weeks, collectivist values, university and professor academic support, academic motivation, and adherence to Covid-19 safety guidelines. We hypothesized students would report higher mental health symptoms in the past year, compared to the past two weeks due to the stricter safety measures at that time. We also hypothesized that loneliness, individualism, poor university/professor support, and compromised motivation would be risk predictors of depression and anxiety symptoms, whereas collectivism, adequate university and professor academic support, and adherence to safety measures would be resilience predictors. Consistent with our hypotheses, participants reported higher depression and anxiety symptoms in the past year compared to within the last two weeks. Loneliness was the strongest risk predictor of depression and anxiety, while collectivism was the strongest resilience predictor for both. These results may guide universities when addressing the potential mental health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on their students, especially when trying to promote resilience and re-establish academic motivation.