- Lin, Chung-Ying
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- PLOS ONE
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- National Science Foundation
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CONTEXT With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting response from universities, engineering students find themselves in an unprecedented situation. In addition to stressors related to the curriculum, residential students across the United States are being asked to relocate away from campus and engage in distance learning. At the same time, social distancing requirements are limiting students’ ability to socialize, procure food and supplies, exercise, and remain employed and financially solvent. Some students will fall ill while others face the prospect of sick family members, and even deaths in the family. Prior research suggests that individuals living through this pandemic are likely to face stress, uncertainty, and fear that affects their mental health and academic performance for years to come. PURPOSE OR GOAL The purpose of this study was to understand the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting engineering students’ mental wellness, specifically stress, and how the effects differ for different groups of students. The research questions addressed are: 1) What effects has the pandemic had on baseline stress levels, and how do those vary by demographic group? 2) What effects has the pandemic had on quality of life, such as sleep habits and financial security,more »
In March of 2020, higher education institutions across the U.S. closed their doors and converted to remote and online learning due to the COVID-19 health crisis. As the country adjusted to the “new normal” of living and working at home, the economic and psychological impact of self-isolation and business closures were felt strongly by those who were most economically and socially vulnerable. In this context, the evaluation team of the Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) implemented a survey of students studying computer science at Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the country to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their lives. In this paper, we identify the contexts in which students at HSIs continued (or failed to continue) their academic pursuits under great hardship. Our analysis highlights how the multidimensional framework of “servingness,” defined as a critical organizational, interactional, and ideological approach that many HSIs use to support their students, was experienced by students during the pandemic (Garcia et al., 2019). We argue that the practices and structures of servingness contributed to sustaining students’ well-being, dignity, and learning amid uncertainty.
A comparison of stress, symptoms, physical activity, and adiposity among women at midlife before and during the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges that disproportionately impacted women. Household roles typically performed by women (such as resource acquisition and caretaking) became more difficult due to financial strain, fear of infection, and limited childcare options among other concerns. This research draws from an on-going study of hot flashes and brown adipose tissue to examine the health-related effects of the COVID-19 pandemic among 162 women aged 45–55 living in western Massachusetts.
We compared women who participated in the study pre- and early pandemic with women who participated mid-pandemic and later-pandemic (when vaccines became widely available). We collected self-reported symptom frequencies (e.g., aches/stiffness in joints, irritability), and assessments of stress, depression, and physical activity through questionnaires as well as measures of adiposity (BMI and percent body fat). Additionally, we asked open-ended questions about how the pandemic influenced women’s health and experience of menopause. Comparisons across pre-/early, mid-, and later pandemic categories were carried out using ANOVA and Chi-square analyses as appropriate. The Levene test for homogeneity of variances was examined prior to each ANOVA. Open-ended questions were analyzed for yes/no responses and general themes.
Contrary to our hypothesis that women would suffer negative health-related consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic, we foundmore »
In this cross-sectional comparison of women during the pre-/early, mid-, and later-pandemic, we found no significant differences across means in multiple health-related variables. However, open-ended questions revealed that while some women suffered health-related effects during the pandemic, others experienced conditions that improved their health and well-being. The differential results of this study highlight a need for more nuanced and intersectional research on risk, vulnerabilities, and coping among mid-life women.
Abstract This project is funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) through their NSF RAPID program under the title “Modeling Corona Spread Using Big Data Analytics.” The project is a joint effort between the Department of Computer & Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at FAU and a research group from LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The novel coronavirus Covid-19 originated in China in early December 2019 and has rapidly spread to many countries around the globe, with the number of confirmed cases increasing every day. Covid-19 is officially a pandemic. It is a novel infection with serious clinical manifestations, including death, and it has reached at least 124 countries and territories. Although the ultimate course and impact of Covid-19 are uncertain, it is not merely possible but likely that the disease will produce enough severe illness to overwhelm the worldwide health care infrastructure. Emerging viral pandemics can place extraordinary and sustained demands on public health and health systems and on providers of essential community services. Modeling the Covid-19 pandemic spread is challenging. But there are data that can be used to project resource demands. Estimates of the reproductive number (R) of SARS-CoV-2 show that at the beginning of the epidemic, each infectedmore »
This research full paper presents screening rates for mental health issues and life-stress events in engineering-focused community college students during the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. Specifically, it attempts to answer the following research questions: 1) What is the overall rate of various mental health conditions among engineering-focused community college students, 2) What effects has the pandemic had on baseline stress levels engineering-focused community college, and 3) What effects has the pandemic had on quality of life, such as sleep habits and financial security of engineering- focused community college students? Data for this paper was collected via survey from May–July 2020 and includes responses from 84 students at 24 community colleges. The survey itself was a compilation of several widely- used instruments for measuring overall mental health and stress levels in a population. These instruments include the Kessler-6 for psychological distress, the PHQ for anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, the PC-PTSD for PTSD-like symptoms, and the SRRS for inventorying stressful life events. Among the major findings, 32% of respondents reported a major change in financial situation, 27% reported loss of employment, and 13% reported ceasing formal schooling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 32% of respondentsmore »