The Psychological Impacts of COVID-19 on Undergraduate Students in the United States: A Review




Cleveland, Jacob

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In the year since the global emergence of COVID-19 in March 2020, few social landscapes have seen a more dramatic change than that of the college campus. However, little research has been conducted regarding the psychological impacts of the pandemic and the mental health status of university students living in one of the nations most heavily affected by COVID-19: The United States. This study’s objective is to synthesize the findings of the currently available studies, identify trends and gaps in the current research’s findings, and provide recommendations for future research in the field. Finally, this study aims to propose possible theories of explanation for the observed trends in the results of current research. The findings of this literature review reveal significant increases in both depression and anxiety among university students in all selected studies. One study incorporated the use of a mobile phone sensing application to demonstrate a link between news coverage of the pandemic and levels of anxiety felt by students. Other findings include increased levels of suicidal ideation, feelings of loneliness, and lack of motivation among student respondents. The current study proposes future research into social-learning theories of personality as a possible explanation for observed trends in the literature, in addition to exploring theoretical framework in communication studies demonstrating ways in which videoconferencing can negatively affect students and faculty alike. The findings of this literature review suggest that there is a great need for further research into the psychological implications and lasting repercussions facing young adults and students living through the ongoing pandemic.



COVID-19, pandemic, mental health, depression, anxiety, students, undergraduate students, university students, Zoom fatigue, locus of control, Psychology, Honors College


Cleveland, J. (2021). The psychological impacts of COVID-19 on undergraduate students in the United States: A review (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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