The novel SARS-CoV-2, or coronavirus, has greatly altered the landscape of college life for students across the United States. The ever-present health concerns and quarantine have been linked to increased anxiety, depression, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder. To this end, we examined the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psychosocial health of college students. We explored the impact of COVID-19 on levels of stress and distress in college students using a qualitative expressive writing methodology. Results of this study suggested that the college students included in the sample were moderately distressed – their scores on inventories of depression, anxiety, and COVID-19-related stressors suggested moderate distress.


college students, COVID-19 pandemic, expressive writing prompt, thematic analysis

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Carissa D'Aniello-Heyda is an Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy, and Department Chair of the Department of Family Therapy and Social Work. She is an AAMFT Clinical Fellow, Approved Supervisor and a member of the National Council on Family Relations. Dr. D’Aniello teaches in the Master’s program in Marriage and Family and Therapy at Fairfield University. D'Aniello researches behavioral health service utilization for couples and families specifically, treatment persistence. D’Aniello has authored several publications in the American Journal of Family Therapy, Contemporary Family Therapy, The Family Journal, and the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Please direct correspondence to carissa.daniello@fairfield.edu.

Kevin Hynes is an Assistant Professor in the Counseling, Rehabilitation, and Human Services department and the Program Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. They are an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor. Dr. Hynes’ program of research focuses on engagement and retention of marginalized populations and disparities in mental health outcomes with minority populations. Most recently, Dr. Hynes has been looking at the use of 21st technology and social media by MFTs. Please direct correspondence to hynesk@uwstout.edu.

Dr. Rachel R. Tambling is a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut, a licensed marital and family therapist, a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Her research centered on modifiable factors related to behavioral health service utilization, including health equity, and the ways in which social determinants of health impact mental health and substance use treatment services help-seeking, utilization, and reimbursement. Dr. Tambling’s research is focused on topics related to mental health, including health literacy, help-seeking, stigma, and behavioral health education. Please direct correspondence to rachel.tambling@uconn.edu.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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