Self-reported COVID-19 infection and implications for mental health and food insecurity among American college students

Self-reported COVID-19 infection and implications for mental health and food insecurity among American college students

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 2022
Sara Goldrick-Rab,Vanessa Coca, Japbir Gill, Morgan Peele, Kallie Clark, and Elizabeth Looker

While the COVID-19 pandemic affected mental health and increased food insecurity across the general population, less is known about the virus’s impact on college students. A fall 2020 survey of more than 100,000 students at 202 colleges and universities in 42 states reveals sociodemographic variation in self-reported infections, as well as associations between self-reported infection and food insecurity and mental health. We find that 7% of students self-reported a COVID-19 infection, with sizable differences by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, parenting status, and student athlete status. Students who self-reported COVID-19 infections were more likely to experience food insecurity, anxiety, and depression. Implications for higher education institutions, policy makers, and students are discussed.

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