Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Robert Melara

Second Advisor

Sophia Barret

Third Advisor

Hawai Kwok


COVID-19, anxiety, vaccine, student adjustment to college, mediation


The COVID-19 pandemic caused severe disruptions to the education of millions of college students, who were forced to adapt to sudden changes in living and learning environments. In this study, we sought to investigate two different dimensions of anxiety that were specific to the pandemic – COVID-19 related anxiety and COVID-19 vaccine anxiety – hoping to pinpoint the relationship between these two variables and students’ ability to adapt to college. Specifically, using cross sectional survey data during three semester waves (Spring 2021, Fall 2021, and Spring 2022) we hypothesized (1) a decreasing trend across time in both COVID-19 related anxiety and COVID-19 vaccine anxiety, and (2) an increasing trend in student adjustment to college. We also examined whether COVID-19 vaccine related anxiety mediated the association between COVID-19 related anxiety and student adjustment to college. Our results confirmed that anxiety decreased in both COVID-19 dimensions; however, student adjustment to college remained consistently low throughout the three waves. Our mediation analysis suggested that the relationship between COVID-19 related anxiety and student adjustment to college was complementarily mediated by COVID-19 vaccine related anxiety. We discuss the study’s implications and limitations.



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