Effects of COVID-19 on Stress and Mental Health of Community College Pre-Engineering Students
Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
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 respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic worsened their housing security situation, 38% reported that COVID-19 has worsened their food security situation, and 36% report that COVID-19 has decreased their ability to access instruction, course materials, or course supplies. Finally, of respondents who completed at least one mental health screening instrument, 70% screened positive for at least one potentially diagnosable condition, while only 9% reported ever receiving a mental health diagnosis.
National Science Foundation
Accessibility, Community College, Disability, Equity, Inclusion, Mental Health, Wellness
Andrew Danowitz and Kacey Beddoes. "Effects of COVID-19 on Stress and Mental Health of Community College Pre-Engineering Students" Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE (2022). https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE56618.2022.9962570