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In the spring 2020 semester, colleges and universities throughout the country made sudden shifts to online instruction due to SARS-CoV-2. Many institutions had as little as 1 weeks' notice and 64% of instructors reported having no online teaching experience (Johnson, Veletsianos, & Seaman, 2020). These educational adjustments are not the only added stressors for students and instructors. Additional stressors during the pandemic included health concerns for self and family members, childcare responsibilities increasing for individuals with families, financial instability, and finding accommodations for persons with disabilities. We conducted two separate but related surveys of undergraduate students during the end of the spring 2020 semester; one a brief survey recruiting nationally, one a detailed survey recruiting USU students. National students were asked about mental health and academic outcomes between early and late in the spring semester. Not surprisingly, higher depression, anxiety, and academic distress scores predicted decreased grades during the spring semester in the national sample. Thirty-nine percent of students had elevated general anxiety and 44.7% of students had elevated academic distress scores. USU Students were asked about mental health and academic outcomes as well as teacher gender, and teacher support. In a cluster analysis of courses within students at USU, students reported fewer course and learning accommodations for life changes due to SARS-CoV-2 in courses with male instructors than students with female instructors. Students taking courses with male instructors reported that they felt less supported and reported larger grade drops between the pandemic than students with female instructors. This suggests that female faculty may have given extra time to their students at the expense of their own mental health, research productivity, and obligations to dependents.


Utah State University

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The Impacts of SARS-CoV-2 on Student Mental Health and Academic Outcomes

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Psychology Commons