Psychosocial Student Adaptions to COVID-19 in Higher Education: A Mixed-Methods Approach to COVID-19 through the Theoretical Framework of Anomie

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted individuals and social institutions due to an abrupt and expansive change to norms and values, which are key characteristics of an anomic state. The purpose of this exploratory and descriptive study was to understand how students enrolled at residential university perceived educational and societal pressures associated with COVID-19. This research applied a mixed methods approach and relied upon three phrases of research: (1) Pilot questionnaire (n=54); (2) Qualitative interviews (n=14); and (3) Quantitative questionnaire (n=253). Findings suggested similarities in how university students responded to COVID-19 and how communities responded previously to other forms of natural disasters. The research supports a macro and micro v impact upon students, suggesting the integration of these viewpoints for the best understanding of social patterns. Students indicated experiencing worsening mental health, strain with their personal identities, strain with their academic institution, and loss of social connection to others within the community. This project concludes with a discussion of the implications of natural disasters, such as COVID-19, for individual and group responses to strain through resilience, coping mechanisms, and adaptation. Additionally, suggestions are given for resolving student strain produced by normlessness that can be applied to future academic and non-academic situations

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