Cady Ujvari


Presentation: 9:00 a.m.-10:15 a.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom

Additional authors:
1 Alicia W. Villanueva Van Den Hurk, BS,1 Colette Mueller,1 Patricia Sabal,1 Noah Greenspan, DPT,2,3 Jill Del Pozzo4,5 Dolores Malaspina, MD, MSPH,6 Julie Walsh-Messinger, PhD1,7

1 Department of Psychology, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH

2 Pulmonary Wellness Foundation, New York, NY

3 COVID Rehabilitation and Recovery Center at H&D Physical Therapy, New York, NY

4 Department of Psychology, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ

5 Lyons VA Medical Center, Lyons, NJ

6 Departments of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Genetics and Genomics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

7 Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, OH



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Background: Recent studies have reported increased rates of mood and anxiety disorders in COVID-19 patients after acute illness, possibly resulting from inflammation, which is linked to depression and childhood trauma. Increased rates of anxiety and depression have also been observed at the population level following past viral outbreaks (e.g. SARS-CoV-1, MERS) and pandemic associated stress could also impact mental health. Thus, the present study compared depression, anxiety, and perceived stress scores in university students who tested positive for COVID-19 to those who never contracted the disease, and to scores prior to the pandemic. Methods: University students completed self-report measures of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress before (N=150) and during (N=334) the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic sample also completed measures of COVID-19 positivity, symptoms, and recovery. One third of the sample tested positive for COVID-19 (N=109). Three x (pre-pandemic, COVID-19 positive, COVID-19 negative) x two (male, female) ANOVAs examined differences in depression, anxiety, and perceived stress. A two (COVID-19 positive, COVID-19 negative) x two (male, female) ANOVA compared PTSD severity.Results: There were significant group effects for depression (F(1,477)=3.06, p=.048, partial η2=.013), anxiety (F(1,477)=3.03, p=.049, partial η2=.013), and perceived stress (F(1,376)=5.62, p=.004, partial η2=.029). Post-hoc analyses indicated that depression and anxiety were higher in the COVID-19 positive (all p’s .584). In contrast, perceived stress was higher in the pre-pandemic group compared to those who were COVID-19 positive (p=.033) and negative (p=.011). PTSD severity did not differ between the COVID-19 positive and negative groups (p=.645). Females were more depressed (p=.036), anxious (p<.001) and stressed (p=.006) than males but did not differ in PTSD severity (p=.305). Discussion: These results suggest that rates of depression and anxiety have increased during the pandemic regardless of COVID-19 positivity. Reduced stress during the pandemic may reflect reduced extracurricular commitments due to university activity restrictions. Future research should examine if these results generalize beyond university students.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Julie Walsh Messinger

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Increased Depression and Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic Regardless of COVID-19 Positivity