Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type



Public Health

Director of Thesis

Dr. Joseph Pearson

First Reader

Dr. Brannon Traxler

Second Reader

Dr. Brannon Traxler


In March of 2020, COVID-19 consumed the globe, affecting individuals’ physical and mental health. Physical health disparities among states of different political affiliations became clearer as the pandemic continued unrelentingly, but mental health disparities were not. This thesis attempted to note any mental health disparities among college students in states of both political affiliations across the country through an online survey. The 23-question survey was completed by 97 undergraduates at six universities - three in liberal states and three in conservative states. Respondents at universities in the liberal states rated their university and the state in which it is located more positively in regard to COVID-19 mitigation and mental health support, reported a higher average mental health impact, and were more likely to seek mental health services than their conservative-designated counterparts. Despite the limited sample size of this survey, the results reflect the influence of politics in the COVID-19 mitigation and outcomes among college students.

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© 2022, Benjamin Cochran