Social Support Protected Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Aug 4, 2022

By Jennifer Kowalkowski and Danielle C. Rhubart, The Pennsylvania State University
Social support can protect mental health from the stressors of life during times of widespread crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from a national survey collected in early-2021, Jennifer Kowalkowski [SMM1…

Race matters in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, research finds

Jul 27, 2022

Hispanic and Black Americans have suffered higher rates of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 than white Americans. A new Penn State study analyzed data collected when COVID-19 vaccines first became available to determine whether these racial and ethnic disparities are related to vaccine…

Losing spouse to COVID may be worse for mental health than other causes of death

Jul 26, 2022

Losing a spouse can be a devastating experience for anyone. A new study found that experiencing the death of a spouse due to COVID-19 may be worse for mental health than deaths from other causes.
Penn State researchers found that while there were strong associations between the recent death of a…

1 in 8 U.S. deaths from 2020 to 2021 came from COVID-19 – leaving millions of relatives reeling from distinctly difficult grief

Jul 12, 2022

By Emily Smith-Greenaway, Associate Professor of Sociology, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Ashton Verdery, Professor of Sociology, Demography and Social Data Analytics and Population Research Institute Associate, Penn State; Haowei Wang, Postdoctoral Research Associate in…

Podcast episode discusses college students and mental health

Jun 24, 2022

The Social Science Research Institute’s Evidence-to-Impact Podcast returns for a third season with its eighteenth episode, “The Perfect Storm: College Students, Mental Health, and the Sense of Belonging on Campus.”
The podcast’s moderator, Michael Donovan, the associate director of the Evidence-to-…

Losing a grandmother may trigger rise in depression for some of her survivors

Jun 17, 2022

Losing a beloved family member is never easy, but a new study suggests the loss of a grandmother in particular may have repercussions for the loved ones she leaves behind.
The researchers found that for up to seven years after the death of their grandmother, adolescent boys had a 50% increase in…

Sharing source-backed information can help reduce COVID-19 misinformation online

Jun 13, 2022

If you see fake news about COVID-19 circulating on your social media feeds, say something — if you have a reliable source to back it up. You could help other users to be less susceptible to misinformation, according to a new study by researchers at the Penn State College of Information Sciences and…

New study shows links between family dynamics and COVID-19 preventative measures

Jun 13, 2022

New research from Penn State suggests that supporting strong family relationships and reducing chaos at home may increase the likelihood that parents and children will engage in behaviors intended to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Researchers from the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention…

COVID vaccine in early pregnancy not tied to birth defects

Apr 6, 2022

Maternal COVID-19 vaccination in early pregnancy is not associated with fetal abnormalities detectable on ultrasound, finds a study yesterday in JAMA Pediatrics.
The retrospective study, conducted by Northwestern University and Penn State College of Medicine researchers, used electronic medical…

What Else Could Covid Inflict on Us? Ask Australian Rabbits

Apr 5, 2022

By Faye Flam | Bloomberg
Rabbits were the victims of the deadliest epidemic in recent history — a germ warfare attack, really — with a virus that killed off more than 99% of the 100 million rabbits inhabiting Australia in 1950. However, the virus didn’t “win” — both the virus and the rabbits are…

Why Researchers Are Still Testing Wild Animals for COVID-19

Apr 5, 2022

By LAURA UNGAR / AP for Time
(Grand Portage, Minn.) — To administer this COVID test, Todd Kautz had to lay on his belly in the snow and worm his upper body into the narrow den of a hibernating black bear. Training a light on its snout, Kautz carefully slipped a long cotton swab into the bear’s…

The Covid cloud is starting to lift – but two years on, its legacy of grief lingers

Mar 15, 2022

PRI Associate Ashton Verdery was quoted in this story about the impacts of Covid-19 by The Guardian.
Verdery created with colleagues a bereavement multiplier that estimates how many people in the US have lost a close relative to Covid. Given the paucity of historical demographic data for Hispanic…

COVID-19 and gun violence increasing in PA

Feb 15, 2022

Pennsylvania saw a 38% increase in the rate of gun violence during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was higher than the national average. This observation is based on the recent peer-reviewed study that enabled Penn State researchers to assess the rates of gun violence before the…

Researchers to study COVID-19 effects on maternal, child health during pregnancy

Feb 15, 2022

 The Pennsylvania Department of Health has awarded Penn State College of Medicine $3.9 million through May 2025 to study the impact COVID-19 has on pregnancy. The researchers will conduct a multi-site study to examine the health outcomes for pregnant women and their infants before and after…

'Family Foundations' parenting program helps families weather the pandemic

Feb 7, 2022

For nearly 20 years, Penn State Research Professor Mark Feinberg has been developing and sharing Family Foundations, a course for couples expecting their first child that focuses on how to work as a team, communicate, and solve problems. New research shows that couples who took Family Foundations…

College students' sense of belonging related to mental health during pandemic

Feb 2, 2022

Among the many challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to the higher education community, one of the most serious is arguably the toll on college students’ mental health. Penn State researchers have found that students’ sense of belongingness in a higher education institution not only…

Minority acceptance of combo flu-COVID vaccine higher than for COVID alone

Jan 12, 2022

Acceptance of a combination influenza-COVID-19 vaccine among minority individuals is higher than for the COVID-19 vaccine alone, according to new research led by Penn State. The results suggest that bundling COVID-19 vaccines or boosters with influenza vaccines may be a convenient option to…

COVID-19 case trajectories may be predicted by surveying communities

Jan 11, 2022

The public’s willingness to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations correlates with COVID-19 case projections in zip codes where those surveyed about their intended behaviors live, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. The researchers said…

Impacts of COVID-19 school closures on Latino sibling dynamics

Nov 23, 2021

School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that many children spent much of their time at home in the spring of 2020. For most children, this meant more time spent with sisters and brothers, creating the potential to change family dynamics.
For family scholars like Xiaoran Sun, former…

Traffic and mobile phone data predict COVID case counts in rural Pennsylvania

Oct 29, 2021

How much people moved around town predicted COVID-19 cases in a rural Pennsylvania county in 2020, according to a new study by researchers at Penn State. The researchers approximated movement during the initial stay-at-home orders and subsequent restricted phases by using data from traffic cameras…

Penn State receives a five-year, nearly $6 million grant to study factors promoting early childhood development

Oct 18, 2021

The effects of genetics, home environment, and prenatal substance use on child health and brain development are largely unknown, even though pregnancy and early childhood are incredibly important periods of growth. To address this knowledge gap, Penn State was recently awarded a five-year, $5.8…

How behaviors can inform COVID-19 health campaigns

Jul 28, 2021

As the pandemic continues, implementing effective public health campaigns to improve vaccination rates and encourage personal behaviors to control the spread of the virus may be necessary. 
Penn State researchers are exploring behaviors for slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19, such as…

COVID-19 and The Commonwealth: County-Level Differences in Vaccination and Death Rates

Jul 13, 2021

A recent policy brief by the Pennsylvania Population Network at Penn State shows the “great differences” in COVID-19 vaccination rates across the Commonwealth. Written by Cassandra Krencisz, Anna E. Shetler, Samiha Taseen and Raeven Faye Chandler, this report explores these differences and analyzes…

The U.S. Spends Less Than Nearly Every Country on Unemployment. That's Why People Can't Get Jobs.

Jul 9, 2021

By Sarah Damaske for Time
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported significant job growth in June: 850,000 new jobs. But with the unemployment rate stubbornly stuck at 5.9 percent, the debate about whether generous federal unemployment benefits keep people from returning to work continues. Last…

Behavior limits COVID-19 spread between University and community

Jun 24, 2021

When universities across the U.S. opted to return students to campus for in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic in the fall of 2020, surrounding communities were understandably concerned that COVID-19 infections rates would significantly increase.
In response, several Penn State…