“We're Not Thriving, But We're Trying.” Exploring Undergraduate Students' Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Date of Award
D.S.W. Social work
Dr. Mary Rita Weller
Dr. Stephen Stoeffler
Dr. Yoon Mi Kim
Undergraduate college students found their lives upended when Covid-19 pandemic mitigation efforts mandated them to leave their school settings and continue their education on virtual platforms. Research on the pandemic and related mitigation efforts has found undergraduate students to be negatively impacted. Today’s undergraduate students are primarily made up of Generation Z who are identified as having a higher reported incidence of mental health issues and have been described as less resilient when compared to other generations. Resilience is integral to undergraduate students’ mental health and educational persistence. This study sought to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Generation Z undergraduate students, factors of resilience that have supported them during the pandemic, and the elements on the college campus that promote or impede resilience development. Utilizing a qualitative study design and grounded theory methodology, the study found resilience development may have been compromised during the pandemic when the typical educational and social structures that promote resilience development were disrupted. The study took place on a private college campus in upstate New York. Twenty-seven Generation Z undergraduate students participated in focus groups to share their experience during the pandemic and its subsequent impact. The study participants identified the pandemic having a negative impact upon their mental health and academic competence with instructors and campus support services being integral to resilience development. Understanding how resilience can be promoted in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic will be necessary to support students as they move through their collegiate experience. This study is relevant to the fields of education and social work as it has implications for both educational leadership and social work policy and practice.
Smith, Kelly, "“We're Not Thriving, But We're Trying.” Exploring Undergraduate Students' Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2023). Social Work Doctoral Dissertations. 28.