ISR: COVID-19 Anxiety on Campus

Sophie Stark’s ISR grew out of her experience with a Millbrook Engage internship last summer. Sophie volunteered at the Cold Spring Behavioral Hub, a community-focused mental health resource center where she gathered and compiled data to streamline the delivery of services for clients. Immersion in mental health issues during a global pandemic led Sophie to her ISR project; an assessment of COVID anxiety at Millbrook.
Sophie used the Pandemic Emotional Impact Scale as a foundational element of her project. The PEIS is a widely accepted means of gathering and analyzing data on the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the U.S. population. Over the first part of the school year, the Millbrook community was asked to respond to six online surveys Sophie authored in an attempt to measure levels of anxiety related to the ongoing pandemic. From there, a smaller group of respondents were selected and polled weekly. Each survey contained demographic questions followed by 16 questions known as “raters,” which required respondents to rate their feelings about personal health and safety, financial stability, and general feelings of anxiety.
With analysis ongoing, Sophie anticipates her work will be useful both for the data she collected and the gathering techniques she employed. “I have a lot of unique hands-on experience with understanding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sophie said, “there will be a lot of research into this in the next four years.” The design and execution of a large-scale mental health research project coincided neatly with several of Sophie’s areas of interest. Sophie plans to study to become a nurse practitioner with a focus on orthopedics and psychiatry at Boston College.
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