COVID-19 Student Stress Survey Study Details

Principal Investigators: Gordon J. G. Asmundson (University of Regina) and Steven Taylor (University of British Columbia)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities across the United States and Canada have rapidly moved to online course delivery, temporarily paused non-essential research activities, and have required many students to move out of university accommodations. As a result, many students are facing significant challenges in fulfilling their educational requirements and have had to either secure other living arrangements or move back home. Many colleges and universities have also modified their grading structures, either mandating students to take a course grade of complete/incomplete, or giving students the option to receive a letter/percentage or complete/incomplete course grade. Students have also experienced significant challenges in maintaining and securing employment, resulting in financial strain and affecting their ability to pay for their studies. Despite these many challenges faced by university students in response to COVID-19, to date there has only been one published study on post-secondary students’ well-being during the pandemic (Cao et al., 2020); however, this study was limited to students in China.

Researchers have not yet explored the impact of COVID-19 on North American post-secondary students. Examining the impact of COVID-19 on post-secondary students is important, as this group may be particularly vulnerable to stress and maladaptive coping behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the purpose of our study is to assess and examine the relationships between (1) potential sources of COVID-19-related stress, (2) attitudes and anxiety related to COVID-19 using a newly developed and evaluated questionnaire (Taylor et al., 2020), (3) behavioural responses to COVID-19 (e.g., hygiene practices), (4) mental health concerns, and (5) risk and resilience factors for maladaptive responses to COVID-19 among students attending North American institutions. To achieve this goal, we are seeking to recruit approximately 2,000 students across North America to take part in a cross-sectional online survey, with approximately 1,000 participants from the United States and 1,000 participants from Canada. Overall, this project will provide a novel and important contribution to research and may help inform efforts to improve the mental health needs of students attending North American institutions during pandemics.