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Alma College students study the impact of COVID-19 on anxiety and grades

Alma College
Alma Junior Abbey Killian

In the midst of the pandemic, Alma college students are conducting studies to better understand how it is impacting anxiety and academic performance.

With persistent rules about masks and social distancing... Places that didn’t used to be stressful - like cafeterias and classrooms - can now be major sources of anxiety.

That’s according to Alma Junior Abbey Killian. She said she’s trying to find a genetic marker that might indicate someone’s anxiety around COVID.

“So we’re thinking we’ll be able to see a link between your genetics, your anxiety levels, and your academic outcomes,” she said.

Alma Junior Blake Jonassen said the goal is to survey students over the course of the pandemic and see how anxiety impacts them.

“There’s fear around getting infected or others around them getting infected, or their worries about social distancing or how often they have to wear their masks will decrease their GPA,” he said. “Or if someone is more anxious there GPA will be lower than someone who is less anxious.”

Mark Mills is a Cognitive Psychology Professor supervising the research. He said the study will help the college better understand where to allocate resources.

“We can ask what locations on campus are students involving themselves in that is then going on to have a detrimental impact on their academic performance. That’s where we’re talking about allocating resources and time and money to solving problems. There’s a lot of things we could do, the question is what should we do.”

The study will be conducted through the spring.