Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Brooke Smith

Second Advisor

Scott Gaynor


The rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths caused are increasing. Studies have been reporting the inclining rate of psychological distress during the pandemic, which calls for attention to how the pandemic has impacted mental health outcomes. Coping strategies are helpful when it comes to predicting mental health outcomes. However, limited studies looked at coping strategies predicting mental health outcomes longitudinally. The study hypothesized that psychological distress would decrease during mid-pandemic and adaptive coping strategies such as active coping, acceptance, positive reframing, instrumental support, emotional support, religion, humor, and planning decrease psychological distress while maladaptive included denial and venting, behavioral disengagements, substance use, self-blame, self-distraction. Current study collected participants from social media platform and university students since April to June 2020 via online survey. A series of linear mixed models expressed the relationship between coping strategies and psychological distress during the pandemic. Results found statistical significance in denial, substance use, behavioral disengagement, venting, humor, and self-blame as maladaptive (p < .001). No coping strategies that associated with decreased psychological distress was found. However, exploratory results showed that acceptance, active coping, and positive reframing had different positive predictions on depression, anxiety, and stress. The study implies that coping strategies during a pandemic, alternative to denial, substance use, behavioral disengagement, venting, humor, and self-blame, should be further explored. It also informs the need to appraise the situation before deploying certain coping strategies.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Thesis Defense.pdf (776 kB)
Defense Presentation