Characterizing changes in mental health-related outcomes for health service psychology graduate students during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic

Katharine E. Daniel*, Erica Szkody, Pankhuri Aggarwal, Amy H. Peterman, Jason J. Washburn, Edward A. Selby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Health service psychology (HSP) graduate students experienced adverse mental health outcomes during COVID-19. However, little is known about how mental health outcomes changed in this population after the onset of COVID-19. Methods: N = 496 HSP graduate students reported onset or worsening of mental health outcomes, inability to access mental health care, worry about COVID-19, and stress at two different timepoints during the first year of the COVID-19 outbreak (timepoint 1: May 1 to June 25, 2020; timepoint 2: September 2 to October 17, 2020). This study tested whether mental health outcomes improved, worsened, or stayed stable during this timeframe. The study also examined whether rising COVID-19 case rates in the state where a participant lived moderated changes in mental health outcomes. Results: Overall, HSP graduate students endorsed adverse mental health outcomes at a higher rate during the first survey relative to the second survey. Even still, 62.68% of students reported worsened mental health symptoms, 49.84% reported worsened sleep, and 23.92% reported increased alcohol and substance use in the 2 months leading up to the second survey. Conclusion: HSP programs should monitor graduate students' evolving mental health, provide wellness resources, and adopt flexible approaches to support graduate students navigating training during periods of immense disruption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2281-2298
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Volume78
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • adult mental health
  • clinical psychology
  • emotional distress
  • longitudinal studies
  • subjective experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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