Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Karen P. Kochel


The goal of the present study was to explore psychological adjustment during the COVID-19 pandemic in undergraduate college students. Since March 2020, undergraduates have endured extended lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing efforts that may affect mental health, especially for historically marginalized groups such as women and people of color. Furthermore, research on coping styles suggests that those who cope with a stressor such as a pandemic in healthy, adaptive ways may be protected against psychological difficulty. In February/March 2021 (Time 1) and again in April/May 2021 (Time 2), college students (N = 277) from two residential liberal arts institutions were measured on their psychological adjustment throughout the pandemic. Participants completed measures on depression, coping styles, and perceived barriers to mental health treatment. Results showed that female students outscored male students, and students of color outscored white students on depression. Results also showed that barriers to mental health treatment at Time 1 were significantly associated with higher depression at Time 2; however, neither “acceptance” nor “denial” coping styles served as protective factors among students who perceived barriers. This study highlights the necessity for expanding the accessibility of mental health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for students with historically marginalized identities and who perceive barriers to accessing care.