COVID-19 was a pandemic that has impacted the world in various ways and forced everyone to quarantine within the confounds of their homes. As studies investigated the effects of the pandemic, it was found that undergraduate students faced severe emotional and psychological difficulties being “at-risk” for greater psychological distress (Mayorga et al., 2021). Undergraduate students are currently made up of Generation Z individuals who are born from 1995 to 2010 (Ang et al., 2021). The present study investigates the relationship between mental health and generational cultural attitudes to explore whether there is a correlation between the stressors from COVID and generation Z’s cultural attitudes. A hypothesis is that generation z college students with more mental health issues due to COVID stressors will be more collectivist and the other is that Generation Z college students are more likely to experience more distress from COVID stressors than previous generations. Participants were given an online survey with the Individualism and Collectivism Scale (Triandis & Gelfand, 1998), Beck’s Depression Inventory-II (Beck et al., 1996), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, 1983), and the Covid Stress Scale (Taylor et al., 2020). Data collection includes 183 undergraduate students from the University of Central Florida. Pearson correlations were conducted between depression, anxiety, and COVID stress. Also, a Pearson correlation was also made between individualism, collectivism, and COVID stress. Lastly, a paired sample t-test was conducted to compare the means between individualism and collectivism. Overall, results did not show support for the first hypothesis because although there was a significant correlation between depression, anxiety, and COVID stress, it cannot be told how much COVID stress affected mental health. Additionally, there was no significant correlation between collectivism or individualism and COVID stress, indicating that cultural attitudes did not predict the level of COVID distress. However, results did find that students were statistically more collectivistic than individualistic, which supports a part of my hypothesis. Understanding cohort and generational differences in emotional response to the COVID-19 pandemic will help in recognizing and assisting these groups. This would demonstrate a difference in emotional response to the pandemic between generations that could help in mental health resources in any future emergency situations.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Aros, Michelle, "Exploring Generational Differences in Emotional Response to the Pandemic" (2022). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1110.