Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research


The COVID-19 pandemic affected individuals and social institutions because of an abrupt and expansive change to norms and values, which are key characteristics of an anomic state. The purpose of this exploratory and descriptive study was to understand how students enrolled at a residential university perceived educational and societal pressures associated with COVID-19. This research applied a mixed-methods approach and relied upon three phrases of research: (1) pilot questionnaire (n = 54), (2) qualitative interviews (n = 14), and (3) quantitative questionnaire (n = 253). Findings suggested similarities in how university students responded to COVID-19 and how communities had responded previously to other forms of natural disasters. Students indicated experiencing worsening mental health and loss of social connection to others within the community. This project concludes with a discussion of the implications of natural disasters, such as COVID-19, for individual and group responses to strain through resilience, coping mechanisms, and adaptation. Keywords: COVID-19, anomie, natural disasters, mental health, education