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New grant continues Arctic research addressing climate change and communities

Sep 21, 2022

Climate change in the Arctic is evident as temperatures rise and Alaskan coastal Indigenous communities face severe, urgent, and complex social and infrastructural challenges. A collection of Penn State research in the region, being driven by social sciences and in collaboration with engineering…

In Rural America, Older Adult Vaccination Rates were Higher in Counties with More Aging and Disability Services

Aug 10, 2022

In this Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion research brief, PRI's Danielle Rhubart and Yue Sun describe how aging and disability services (ADS) played an important role for older adults in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, including sharing information, providing transportation, and serving…

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…
News Topics: COVID-19

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…
News Topics: COVID-19

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…
News Topics: COVID-19

COVID-19 and the mental health of essential workers

Feb 24, 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health and well-being of the population as a whole, leading to large-scale lifestyle changes, social isolation, and increased stress. However, this has been especially pertinent to essential workers—facing high workloads, insufficient…

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…
News Topics: COVID-19Pregnancy

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…

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…
News Topics: COVID-19

Why Social Science? Because Vaccination is a Human—Not Technical—Process

Sep 22, 2021

By Elisa J. Sobo (San Diego State University), Diana Schow (Idaho State University), Elizabeth Cartwright (Idaho State University), and Emily K. Brunson (Texas State University) on behalf of the CommuniVax Coalition  The COVID-19 pandemic is being experienced by people—and without insights into…

HHD Dean's Lecture Series special event to focus on vaccine hesitancy

Sep 8, 2021

The College of Health and Human Development Dean’s Lecture Series will host a special event focused on vaccine hesitancy. Delivered by Daniel Salmon, professor of international health and health, behavior and society and director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University's…

16th Annual De Jong Lecture in Social Demography taking place on Oct. 1

Aug 18, 2021

“Surviving Two Epidemics: Resilience and Health in the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health 1998-2021” will be presented by Hans-Peter Kohler at Penn State's 16th annual De Jong Lecture in Social Demography Oct. 1, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. in The Living Center, Henderson Building, and virtually…

Counting pandemic behavior to inform public health decisions

Aug 10, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many significant changes to our lives, but one of the most visible signals of this has been the proliferation of masks and other face-coverings in public spaces. In a recent study published in the Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal, Penn State…
News Topics: COVID-19