Evaluation of Psychiatric Disorders in College Students at West Chester University: Underlying Genetics and the Effect of COVID-19
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Teresa Donze-Reiner, Ph.D.
Jennifer Maresh, Ph.D.
Ben Reiner, Ph.D.
Eric Sweet, Ph.D
The world is facing a mental health crisis and one of the most vulnerable groups are college-age young adults. The crisis has only been exacerbated by the Sars-CoV2 pandemic (commonly referred to as COVID-19). One way scientists are attempting to deal with the increasing prevalence of psychiatric disorders is through studying their genetics using genome wide association studies (GWAS). Scientists have begun to uncover genetic variants associated with the development and potential treatments for these disorders. This thesis followed a cohort of diverse, college-aged young adults from West Chester University of Pennsylvania both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cohort had been previously genetically tested using AncestryDNA and through self-reported surveys, both pre and mid-pandemic. Analysis of the data revealed higher rates of psychiatric disorders in the college cohort compared to the general population. Also, an increase in alcohol consumption was discovered during the pandemic. The data highlights the need for special attention and proper resources to be given to this group due to their increased risk of mental health issues.
James, Madison, "Evaluation of Psychiatric Disorders in College Students at West Chester University: Underlying Genetics and the Effect of COVID-19" (2022). West Chester University Master’s Theses. 244.