Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Primary Major


Program Director

Andrea Boyle, PhD, FNAP

Thesis Advisor

Patricia Harris, PhD, RN


Undergraduate students are well-known as a vulnerable population prone to stress, anxiety, depression and various other psychological problems during their academic time at university or college. With the introduction and sudden integration of the COVID-19 pandemic into the daily lives of these high-risk students, globally, many people are concerned with how the mental health of this population will be affected, given the presence of the pandemic in addition to the multiple safety measures put in place in an attempt to contain the virus. This includes students having been subjected to prolonged implementation of shelter-in-place mandates and requirements of social-distancing across the globe that caused widespread feelings of newfound isolation.

Several questions are explored in this paper: How were post-secondary students handling their emotions surrounding COVID-19 and how has it drastically altered life as we once knew it to be? What were some significant coping strategies that students used and felt were effective or even ineffective during this time of extreme stress and anxiety? Most importantly, how did nursing students fare in comparison to students with different majors since nursing students also have, in addition to their academic stress, clinical and healthcare setting stress and feelings of uncertainty?

This paper investigates with a literature review the manifestations and/or exacerbations of negative mental health issues associated with Coronavirus on higher education students, especially taking a closer look into nursing students. Furthermore, this paper proposes a research study aimed toward collecting more data on California students and perspectives of their mental health status and coping mechanisms in relation to COVID-19.


I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Patricia Harris for being the go-to person for me as I produced my research thesis. I appreciate Dr. Harris’ consistent encouragement and significant involvement throughout the creation of this publication, without her there would not be a paper of such quality.