Teens and Anxiety during COVID-19

Author: Sarah Myruski, Ph.D. , Kristin Buss, Ph.D.
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Article Topics: psychology, mental health, children The anxiety, isolation, and uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented emotional challenge. Adolescence is a period of drastic emotional, social, and cognitive development, making this age group particularly vulnerable to the short- and long-term impact of the pandemic on mental health. Teen anxiety prevalence has steadily increased over the past several decades. Nearly 1 in 3 teens meet criteria for an anxiety disorder by age 18 , and 70% of teens describe anxiety as a major problem for people their age. The growing pervasiveness of teen anxiety is…

Feeling the Pandemic

Author: James Dillard, Ph.D.
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Article Topics: mental health, fear, interpersonal communication, mediated communication Introduction Life is full of risks. Some are more likely than others, and some are more severe than others. Risk information may be acquired from direct experience or by observing someone else’s experience. But, more often information about various hazards is conveyed through other people. Friends and family warn us about the dangers of COVID-19 or we learn about them from MSNBC, CNN, or Fox. Typically, when people perceive themselves to be in danger, they experience some degree of fear. This emotion is useful because it can motivate them to learn more about the problem or, perhaps, to take…

Anticipatory grief related to COVID-19

Author: Abigail O. Akande, Ph.D., CRC
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Article Topics: mental health, race, grief Finally receiving a diagnosis from a doctor that explains your previously unexplainable symptoms can often bring about feelings of relief. Giving it a name usually gives it a trajectory, a course of treatment, a plan of action, and predictable outcomes. The patient’s questions have answers, so even the label of a chronic health condition with no cure can offer a sense of peace that the preceding uncertainty had obstructed. But this year, the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 and its diagnosis has offered its targets no such comfort. The insidious nature of its arrival in the United States has…

Fostering College Students’ Sense of Belonging Amidst COVID-19

Author: Maithreyi Gopalan, Ph.D. , Shannon Brady, Ph.D.
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Article Topics: education, disparities, mental health, psychology, research “When I first arrived at school as a first-generation college student, I didn’t know anyone on campus except my brother. I didn’t know how to pick the right classes or find the right buildings. I didn’t even bring the right size sheets for my dorm room bed. I didn’t realize those beds were so long. So I was a little overwhelmed and a little isolated” -Michelle Obama ( 2014 ) Introduction As illustrated in the quote above, the transition to college has always been challenging. Making new friends. Enrolling in the right classes. Responding to critical feedback from professors. Perhaps…

COVID-19 and the isolation pandemic

Author: Michael J. Bernstein, Ph.D.
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Article Topics: psychology, mental health The COVID-19 pandemic continues across the globe and is still particularly ravaging the United States. Currently, science and medicine are unequivocally clear on how to reduce the risk of transmission – social distancing. Yet this behavior comes with a real cost of reduced social connections and research has shown that losing social connections can be dangerous to both physical and psychological well-being. There is a difficult tradeoff between social distancing to protect ourselves and others from the threat of COVID-19 transmission and the costs of social isolation. Even more problematic…

Social Support and Mental Health during COVID-19

Author: Timothy Worley, Ph.D. , Madison Mucci-Ferris
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Article Topics: children, mental health, psychology, survey research Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented source of stress for today’s college students. In addition to the physical health threat COVID-19 poses to students and their loved ones, the psychological impact of the pandemic has been profound, with stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms increasing globally. Research suggests the psychological toll may be especially high for college-aged young adults. Social support, particularly from family members , has been identified as a protective factor against COVID-19-related mental health issues . Examples of social support…

Unintended mental health consequences of isolation precautions for patients hospitalized with COVID-19

Author: Theodore Demetriou, D.O.
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Article Topics: mental health, hospitals As a physician, I have seen first-hand the mental health toll that the novel coronavirus is playing on patients hospitalized with the disease. Here I present the problem and a potential way to mitigate the damaging effects of isolation on patients’ mental health. There is an old adage: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When there is no cure, that ounce can lead to tons. In a world of antibiotic resistance and diseases with no real cure, isolation precautions are an expected standard of care. Patients are routinely placed on contact, droplet, airborne or reverse isolation…