Personal Experience With the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many areas of individuals’ daily living. The vulnerability to any epidemic depends on a person’s social and economic status. Some people with underlying medical conditions have succumbed to the disease, while others with stronger immunity have survived (Cohut para.6). Governments have restricted movements and introduced stern measures against violating such health precautions as physical distancing and wearing masks. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to adopt various responses to its effects, such as homeschooling, working from home, and ordering foods and other commodities from online stores.

I have restricted my movements and opted to order foodstuffs and other essential goods online with doorstep delivery services. I like adventure, and before the pandemic, I would go to parks and other recreational centers to have fun. But this time, I am mostly confined to my room studying, doing school assignments, or reading storybooks, when I do not have an in-person session at college. I have also had to use social media more than before to connect with my family and friends. I miss participating in outdoor activities and meeting with my friends. However, it is worth it because the virus is deadly, and I have had to adapt to this new normal in my life.

With the pandemic requiring stern measures and precautions due to its transmission mode, the federal government has done well in handling the matter. One of the positives is that it has sent financial and material aid to individual state and local governments to help people cope up with the economic challenges the pandemic has posed (Solomon para. 8). Another plus for the federal government is funding the COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and distributing the vaccine. Lastly, the government has extended unemployment benefits as a rescue plan to help households with an income of less than $150,000 (Solomon para. 9). Therefore, the federal government is trying its best to handle this pandemic.

The New Jersey government has done all it can to handle this pandemic well, but there are still some areas of improvement. As of March 7, 2021, New Jersey was having the highest number of deaths related to COVID-19, but Governor Phil Murphy’s initial handling of the pandemic attracted praises from many quarters (Stanmyre para. 10). In his early days in office, Gov. Murphy portrayed a sense of competency and calm, but it seems other states adopted much of his policies better than he did, explaining the reduction in the approval ratings. In November 2020, Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order cushioning and protecting workers from contracting COVID-19 at the workplace (Stanmyre para. 12). Therefore, although there are mixed feelings, the NJ government is handling this pandemic well.

Some states have reopened immediately after the vaccination, but this poses a massive risk of spreading the virus. Soon, citizens will begin to neglect the laid down health protocols, which would increase the possibility of the increase of the COVID-19 cases. There is a need for health departments to ensure that the health precautions are followed and campaign on the need to adhere to the guidelines. Some individuals are protesting their states’ economy to be reopened, but that is a rash, ill-informed decision. The threat of the pandemic is still high, and it is not the right time to demand the reopening of the economy yet.

In conclusion, the pandemic has affected individuals, businesses, and governments in many ways. Due to how the virus spreads, physical distancing has become a new normal, with people forced to homeschool or work from home to prevent themselves from contracting the disease. The federal government has done its best to cushion its people from the pandemic’s economic effects through various financial rescue schemes and plans. New Jersey’s government has also done well, although its cases continue to soar as it is the leading state in COVID-19 prevalence. Some states have reopened, while in others, people continue to demand their state governments to open the economy, which would be a risky move.

Works Cited

Cohut, Maria. “COVID-19 at the 1-year Mark: How the Pandemic Has Affected the World.” Medical and Health Information . Web.

Solomon, Rachel. “What is the Federal Government Doing to Help People Impacted by Coronavirus?” Cancer Support Community . Web.

Stanmyre, Matthew. “N.J.’s Pandemic Response Started Strong. Why Has So Much Gone Wrong Since?” 2021. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2022, September 29). Personal Experience With the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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Community Reflections

My life experience during the covid-19 pandemic.

Melissa Blanco Follow

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My content explains what my life was like during the last seven months of the Covid-19 pandemic and how it affected my life both positively and negatively. It also explains what it was like when I graduated from High School and how I want the future generations to remember the Class of 2020.

Class assignment, Western Civilization (Dr. Marino).

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Blanco, Melissa, "My Life Experience During the Covid-19 Pandemic" (2020). Community Reflections . 21.

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Coronavirus: My Experience During the Pandemic

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Anastasiya Kandratsenka George Washington High School, Class of 2021

At this point in time there shouldn't be a single person who doesn't know about the coronavirus, or as they call it, COVID-19. The coronavirus is a virus that originated in China, reached the U.S. and eventually spread all over the world by January of 2020. The common symptoms of the virus include shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, headache, loss of taste and smell, runny nose, vomiting and nausea. As it has been established, it might take up to 14 days for the symptoms to show. On top of that, the virus is also highly contagious putting all age groups at risk. The elderly and individuals with chronic diseases such as pneumonia or heart disease are in the top risk as the virus attacks the immune system. 

The virus first appeared on the news and media platforms in the month of January of this year. The United States and many other countries all over the globe saw no reason to panic as it seemed that the virus presented no possible threat. Throughout the next upcoming months, the virus began to spread very quickly, alerting health officials not only in the U.S., but all over the world. As people started digging into the origin of the virus, it became clear that it originated in China. Based on everything scientists have looked at, the virus came from a bat that later infected other animals, making it way to humans. As it goes for the United States, the numbers started rising quickly, resulting in the cancellation of sports events, concerts, large gatherings and then later on schools. 

As it goes personally for me, my school was shut down on March 13th. The original plan was to put us on a two weeks leave, returning on March 30th but, as the virus spread rapidly and things began escalating out of control very quickly, President Trump announced a state of emergency and the whole country was put on quarantine until April 30th. At that point, schools were officially shut down for the rest of the school year. Distanced learning was introduced, online classes were established, a new norm was put in place. As for the School District of Philadelphia distanced learning and online classes began on May 4th. From that point on I would have classes four times a week, from 8AM till 3PM. Virtual learning was something that I never had to experience and encounter before. It was all new and different for me, just as it was for millions of students all over the United States. We were forced to transfer from physically attending school, interacting with our peers and teachers, participating in fun school events and just being in a classroom setting, to just looking at each other through a computer screen in a number of days. That is something that we all could have never seen coming, it was all so sudden and new. 

My experience with distanced learning was not very great. I get distracted very easily and   find it hard to concentrate, especially when it comes to school. In a classroom I was able to give my full attention to what was being taught, I was all there. However, when we had the online classes, I could not focus and listen to what my teachers were trying to get across. I got distracted very easily, missing out on important information that was being presented. My entire family which consists of five members, were all home during the quarantine. I have two little siblings who are very loud and demanding, so I’m sure it can be imagined how hard it was for me to concentrate on school and do what was asked of me when I had these two running around the house. On top of school, I also had to find a job and work 35 hours a week to support my family during the pandemic. My mother lost her job for the time being and my father was only able to work from home. As we have a big family, the income of my father was not enough. I made it my duty to help out and support our family as much as I could: I got a job at a local supermarket and worked there as a cashier for over two months. 

While I worked at the supermarket, I was exposed to dozens of people every day and with all the protection that was implemented to protect the customers and the workers, I was lucky enough to not get the virus. As I say that, my grandparents who do not even live in the U.S. were not so lucky. They got the virus and spent over a month isolated, in a hospital bed, with no one by their side. Our only way of communicating was through the phone and if lucky, we got to talk once a week. Speaking for my family, that was the worst and scariest part of the whole situation. Luckily for us, they were both able to recover completely. 

As the pandemic is somewhat under control, the spread of the virus has slowed down. We’re now living in the new norm. We no longer view things the same, the way we did before. Large gatherings and activities that require large groups to come together are now unimaginable! Distanced learning is what we know, not to mention the importance of social distancing and having to wear masks anywhere and everywhere we go. This is the new norm now and who knows when and if ever we’ll be able go back to what we knew before. This whole experience has made me realize that we, as humans, tend to take things for granted and don’t value what we have until it is taken away from us. 

Articles in this Volume

[tid]: dedication, [tid]: new tools for a new house: transformations for justice and peace in and beyond covid-19, [tid]: black lives matter, intersectionality, and lgbtq rights now, [tid]: the voice of asian american youth: what goes untold, [tid]: beyond words: reimagining education through art and activism, [tid]: voice(s) of a black man, [tid]: embodied learning and community resilience, [tid]: re-imagining professional learning in a time of social isolation: storytelling as a tool for healing and professional growth, [tid]: reckoning: what does it mean to look forward and back together as critical educators, [tid]: leader to leaders: an indigenous school leader’s advice through storytelling about grief and covid-19, [tid]: finding hope, healing and liberation beyond covid-19 within a context of captivity and carcerality, [tid]: flux leadership: leading for justice and peace in & beyond covid-19, [tid]: flux leadership: insights from the (virtual) field, [tid]: hard pivot: compulsory crisis leadership emerges from a space of doubt, [tid]: and how are the children, [tid]: real talk: teaching and leading while bipoc, [tid]: systems of emotional support for educators in crisis, [tid]: listening leadership: the student voices project, [tid]: global engagement, perspective-sharing, & future-seeing in & beyond a global crisis, [tid]: teaching and leadership during covid-19: lessons from lived experiences, [tid]: crisis leadership in independent schools - styles & literacies, [tid]: rituals, routines and relationships: high school athletes and coaches in flux, [tid]: superintendent back-to-school welcome 2020, [tid]: mitigating summer learning loss in philadelphia during covid-19: humble attempts from the field, [tid]: untitled, [tid]: the revolution will not be on linkedin: student activism and neoliberalism, [tid]: why radical self-care cannot wait: strategies for black women leaders now, [tid]: from emergency response to critical transformation: online learning in a time of flux, [tid]: illness methodology for and beyond the covid era, [tid]: surviving black girl magic, the work, and the dissertation, [tid]: cancelled: the old student experience, [tid]: lessons from liberia: integrating theatre for development and youth development in uncertain times, [tid]: designing a more accessible future: learning from covid-19, [tid]: the construct of standards-based education, [tid]: teachers leading teachers to prepare for back to school during covid, [tid]: using empathy to cross the sea of humanity, [tid]: (un)doing college, community, and relationships in the time of coronavirus, [tid]: have we learned nothing, [tid]: choosing growth amidst chaos, [tid]: living freire in pandemic….participatory action research and democratizing knowledge at, [tid]: philly students speak: voices of learning in pandemics, [tid]: the power of will: a letter to my descendant, [tid]: photo essays with students, [tid]: unity during a global pandemic: how the fight for racial justice made us unite against two diseases, [tid]: educational changes caused by the pandemic and other related social issues, [tid]: online learning during difficult times, [tid]: fighting crisis: a student perspective, [tid]: the destruction of soil rooted with culture, [tid]: a demand for change, [tid]: education through experience in and beyond the pandemics, [tid]: the pandemic diaries, [tid]: all for one and 4 for $4, [tid]: tiktok activism, [tid]: why digital learning may be the best option for next year, [tid]: my 2020 teen experience, [tid]: living between two pandemics, [tid]: journaling during isolation: the gold standard of coronavirus, [tid]: sailing through uncertainty, [tid]: what i wish my teachers knew, [tid]: youthing in pandemic while black, [tid]: the pain inflicted by indifference, [tid]: education during the pandemic, [tid]: the good, the bad, and the year 2020, [tid]: racism fueled pandemic, [tid]: coronavirus: my experience during the pandemic, [tid]: the desensitization of a doomed generation, [tid]: a philadelphia war-zone, [tid]: the attack of the covid monster, [tid]: back-to-school: covid-19 edition, [tid]: the unexpected war, [tid]: learning outside of the classroom, [tid]: why we should learn about college financial aid in school: a student perspective, [tid]: flying the plane as we go: building the future through a haze, [tid]: my covid experience in the age of technology, [tid]: we, i, and they, [tid]: learning your a, b, cs during a pandemic, [tid]: quarantine: a musical, [tid]: what it’s like being a high school student in 2020, [tid]: everything happens for a reason, [tid]: blacks live matter – a sobering and empowering reality among my peers, [tid]: the mental health of a junior during covid-19 outbreaks, [tid]: a year of change, [tid]: covid-19 and school, [tid]: the virtues and vices of virtual learning, [tid]: college decisions and the year 2020: a virtual rollercoaster, [tid]: quarantine thoughts, [tid]: quarantine through generation z, [tid]: attending online school during a pandemic.

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My Experience as a College Student During COVID-19

experience during covid 19 pandemic essay

Students gather at Fordham University before having to leave campus due to the coronavirus outbreak. | Source: Anna Kuyat

BY: Anna Kuyat

Anna Kuyat is a junior at Fordham University studying English and Visual Arts. She is a Spring 2020 intern for Chasing the Dream.

If the coronavirus outbreak has taught me anything, it is how very lucky I am. I began my junior year of college in Copenhagen, Denmark where I was able to have an incredible semester abroad. A few months into the second semester of my junior year, I was settling back into my New York City school lifestyle: grabbing a coffee with a few friends at Prince Coffee House; taking the D train to Columbus Circle for shopping or to Hamilton Heights to meet my brother for a bite at Harlem Public; walking along Arthur Ave; “enjoying” a class in Irish and British Medieval Literature; comparing photos of my study abroad experience with online friends who were currently studying in Copenhagen or London or Granada. 

experience during covid 19 pandemic essay

Anna with her friends at Prince Coffee House before the pandemic. | Source: Anna Kuyat

And then seemingly without warning, we were all sent packing. One morning I woke up in the Bronx and that night, went to bed back home in Philly with just a duffel bag full of my belongings. My first two thoughts were mixtures of empathetic concern and selfish relief— “I’m glad I did my study abroad in the fall” and “It must be really tough to be a college senior this year.” When a university closes shop, you know things are serious. And they were, it was —this invisible, protein-crowned virus called COVID-19. 

Having no experience with pandemics, I could be forgiven for not thinking in terms of worst case scenarios. Certain things are permanent fixtures—the gym, the coffee shop, the train, the innumerable people who frequent them with me. This is a city that never sleeps. When I woke up at my house in southeastern Pennsylvania, it all disappeared— no coffee shop, no gym, no people. And then, I finally did get the message, and for the first time became afraid. My father, then my mother became infected and quarantined themselves in a separate portion of our not very large three bedroom home. I barely left the house because of something called “shelter in place.” I had to stay away from my high school pals because of something called “social distancing.” I came face to face with my own sense of entitlement— I haven’t gone through anything, and even this is not anything compared with those who are out of work or those who are forced to work meeting needs and saving lives.

experience during covid 19 pandemic essay

Anna’s brother’s in his apartment in Hamilton Heights, New York City.  | Source: Anna Kuyat

I wasn’t really ready for online classes. I had taken for granted how significant the human interaction was, even from that student who seemed compelled to man-splain two or three times per class, or the perky one who can’t stop her joyous mouth from answering another question. They mattered. They helped to define me— I am the non- perky one. I needed them all. Like most people, I also found being secluded at home very difficult. At school, I was in constant motion in search of a new museum or cafe or another place in which to do my school work— my dorm, true to its etymology, was simply a spot to sleep in. And while NYC gave me numerous spurts of inspiration for writing yet another essay, my suburban Philadelphia neighborhood lacked anything close to a Mt. Parnassus. In fact, I mostly felt tired and anesthetized by a nondescript boredom.

But there was something oddly uplifting in knowing that there were only three things happening in a world known for its hyperkinetic abuse of time— being sick, keeping from being sick, and helping those who are sick. Everyone was all about one thing. Nothing else mattered. And we were all together in a new abridged version of living. And I found myself drifting out of myself to wonder about those who were being sick and serving the sick while I had the opportunity to do nothing. Some of my friends were in families that now lacked an income since neither parent’s job afforded the ability to work from home. The mother of another friend was a nurse who had worked 16 hours per day, taking care of infected patients, and having no interaction at home with her daughter. This disease was destructive in more ways than one, but only one way could be treated at a time.

experience during covid 19 pandemic essay

Both of Anna’s parents were infected with COVID-19. | Source: Anna Kuyat

As a healthy citizen of an advanced nation, I felt guilty that we were not in position to provide financial assistance to the unemployed or the small business owners, to distribute PPE or ventilators to every city and state, or to have in place the plan and the equipment for quick reliable nationwide testing. I worried about my parents since their doctors didn’t know the variety of symptoms to expect or what steps to make them more comfortable except to take Tylenol. They could die. For really the first time in my life, death was nearby, an uninvited houseguest. At least they were able to get tested thanks to a drive-thru clinic in one of the parking lots of Citizen Bank Park where the Phillies may play baseball this season. A week after they were tested, this clinic ran out of funding and closed down. 

When they beat the virus, I was able to get myself into a routine to avoid being lost in a land without dates and times. This helped with my focus and mental health. Feeling stuck and trapped is a lot to handle. Feeling that one is sinking in an achronicity is asking too much. Measuring time in terms of tasks and rituals gives shape to my day, and directs me toward specifics– facetiming friends, writing, music, dog-walking, meditating, being grateful. A time to be grateful, to be grateful for…nothing beyond this moment. Why would I have to carve out a slot for this? Because I was too busy before, too caught up staring into the kaleidoscope, to take note of many of the forms– their width, their breadth, their identities. 

experience during covid 19 pandemic essay

Anna’s parents are recovering from COVID-19 in their Pennsylvania home. | Source: Anna Kuyat

Yes, I still find myself worrying about next year– my senior year– since it is still uncertain whether school will open on campus in the fall. I also think about how I will be applying for jobs very soon, in less than a year. It is disheartening, dispiriting, to know that I may be entering the job market during an economic depression. Finding a job after college and transitioning to “full-on adulthood” is stressful enough. 

But then I breathe. I know enough history to be able to identify no more than two times during the previous century when crisis provoked positive change– FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society. Perhaps this pandemic that has shed a glaring light on our nation’s deficiencies will spark essential changes to our economy and to our healthcare. I know I am ready to play my part. And there is the very real possibility of a brighter future not insulated from distress, but prepared to live with misfortune wisely and humanely when it comes.


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Rev. Barber on Misinformation and Seeking Justice During COVID-19

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Why has the Bronx and other communities of color become COVID-19 hot spots?

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How the Coronavirus Punishes Many Older Workers

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“I Don’t Want to Die Poor”

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A personal narrative of my COVID experience

One of the Experts by Experience supporting the Prevention and Early Detection Theme of ARC EoE, the University of Hertfordshire shares her reflections and experiences of life during COVID 19. Her personal narrative shines a light on the value of community and the importance of hearing individual voices from these communities to guide what, how and why we do research.

I am an Expert by Experience supporting the Prevention and Early Detection Theme of ARC EoE and the University of Hertfordshire. I live with my parents who are in their mid – late 70s in a rural Village of around 1000 people.

Before COVID my life really revolved around my Expert by Experience work and involvement in Church and community activities so mostly all outdoors and with people.  I used public transport to get around.  When COVID struck, like most people, my diary cleared within a few days and my life moved indoors and on to my laptop and phone.

There was initially extreme anxiety amongst my community groups about how to identify the vulnerable, a great desire to help, and a lot of pressure to do something.  This was very difficult as we were in a pandemic and we were very concerned about spreading infection.  It felt very powerless.

Before COVID I ran a popular weekly craft group which also provided a lot of social support.  Fortunately, one of the Group members set up a local craft group on Facebook immediately on lockdown and a lot of members joined.  Those not online I have continued to contact via phone, text and email regularly so we keep connected until we can meet again. 

Then the authorities banded together and the Church went online and continued the Food Banks which was all great.  I contacted some of the local groups to see how we could work together and  started mapping my community in terms of what resources were available to support people as I felt a coordinated community response was the best approach to pool our resources and identify potential gaps.  For me generally though it felt like a disconnect between the authorities and residents.  I felt that we were all worried about the same thing, the vulnerable and people falling through the gaps but somehow, we were not able to join up in much of a practical way. 

I also found there was also a big confusion over who the vulnerable were.  Some people did not see themselves as vulnerable while others not seen as vulnerable clearly were. Even though my parents are in their 70s, it was very difficult to know whether they were eligible for supermarket priority slots (not that we could get any anyway and we soon gave up trying).  This caused a lot of tension and arguments when the food started to run down as to how to get supplies as no one wanted anyone to go out.  A friend whose only method of communication was the phone ran out of phone credit early on and I spent the rest of lockdown concerned about them until I could go and knock on the door again once restrictions had lifted.

Fortunately, quite early on, our local supermarket began home delivery by email order and card and a local business set up a fruit and veg stall on one of the local farms. This helped greatly in the early days of lockdown as getting fresh supplies was very difficult.  Some people I know felt this gave them more independence rather than relying on others to get food for them.  Our local shop was also very supportive of our community and local pharmacies did home deliveries of prescriptions.

After much stress and feeling powerless being told to stay at home and also wanting to stay safe and not spread infection, I finally found the best way to support my community was from my laptop and phone, sharing official info from the Government website and our Councils, local Library resources, Neighbourhood Watch, local Surgery Patient Participation Group, Local Resilience Forum and Third Sector contacts and other trusted sources via our community Facebook page, email and phone.  I was able to quickly pass on public health info as well as info on local supplies as resources and information emerged.  I also printed official COVID posters for the local notice boards as nothing was appearing on the council boards due to the situation.

From the beginning of lockdown I started to use social media more for public information but found the COVID information very useful but the volume of it was becoming overwhelming and decided to also post things to help motivate, inspire and lift spirits particularly in the depths of lockdown such as daily photos of flowers from the garden, a Virtual History tour using our village photo archive and an armchair quiz. These have been very popular and I found it a good way of checking in with people I knew as they responded to posts. It was also useful to help get lost items of post redelivered and get lost cats back home.

Before lockdown I was getting increasingly anxious about the situation and was very happy once we were in lockdown as I felt safe.  After some time, I was worried that it felt too safe and I was then anxious about going out as most days I stayed in.  The outside environment felt very unsafe as germs could be anywhere, on surfaces, in the air and it felt that nowhere was safe.  When I did go out into the Village I have known all my life, it felt very strange, quite disorientating and even crossing the road seemed daunting. When it was mentioned that lockdown was going to end then I became very anxious and this has only increased over the weeks.  I still hardly go out.  I always wear a mask when I am near or with people even though I know nothing about whether masks are effective or necessary and it is probably starting to look a little odd, I feel safer with one on.

Throughout lockdown I was terrified I had COVID as I was quite unwell for some time early on with digestive symptoms not listed by the Government but which were reported in the media.  It was difficult to tell if they were COVID or stress related and I was not sure what to do. I had telephone consultations with GPs and found these excellent. I would like this option to continue.

I have found a lot of official advice to be confusing particularly now that restrictions are lifting and am not sure who I can meet as the situation is changing rapidly.  There is a lot of pressure from friends who are bored, fed up and want to meet up.  Some friends have been asking to meet up for weeks but I don’t want to go out as I am not sure if it is safe. It feels now that they might think I am avoiding them when really, I am afraid. Some friends have been shielding and are highly anxious, afraid and are not sure how to begin to take those first steps outside.

I look at the terrible things which are happening as reported in the media and feel even more afraid of going out.  Not knowing what to expect when going out, how I am supposed to behave, how other people are going to behave, what shops, banks, etc are open, opening times and especially whether toilets are open makes it difficult to even think about going out to Town centres and whether it is actually worth it.  I used to get public transport but cannot imagine doing this now which also makes it very difficult. 

Despite being highly anxious about technology which made it difficult to try or use Zoom at the beginning of lockdown, I am so glad that I persevered with all the problems of anxiety and unstable internet connection etc as it has meant that I have been able to continue with a small amount of work, some community activities, access webinars, creative sessions and undertake online Spot the Signs Suicide training.  Zoom has opened up so many opportunities and now I am afraid of having to go back into buildings for any reason and want the online world to continue. It also cuts out all the problems, the stress and tiredness of travelling on public transport as it enables me to manage my health much better.  I think it makes things more accessible for those who are disabled, managing health conditions or who have caring responsibilities.

I think people are going to need a lot of support: getting acclimatized to going out again and knowing what to expect and how to behave when outside. Help and support adjusting to unemployment, new work environments, working from home etc. Support with bereavement, loss and change. 

Being indoors every day during lockdown caused a lot of tension in the house as everyone was anxious about the situation and doing anything was so difficult.  Constant hand washing, checking for symptoms, checking for information on the news, talking and thinking about COVID.  We had lots of arguments over food and going out for supplies.

COVID has been quite traumatising, watching the horror of the situation unfold on a global and local scale.  Doing anything at all in the early days was so challenging and it felt like it was all I thought about.  There has been such a lot of loss that I think it will take a long time for the full impact to be felt and dealt with.  Fearing for the lives of friends who have been ill with COVID and not being able to see them felt very powerless and am not sure how to grieve the loss of a family member when we were not able to attend their direct funeral early on in lockdown. 

It has been difficult to plan the future when everything is so uncertain and there seems no end to it. The foundations of our lives have been and continue to be affected; our surroundings. employment, housing, the food we eat, money and resources, transport, education and skills, families, friends and communities have all been affected. All of these practical everyday concerns are connected to mental health problems and will be greater and need addressing.  Our community food bank definitely saw a big increase in demand.

At the beginning it seemed that we were all in it together and that there were probably few people who were not thinking about COVID. Then it became apparent that there were great divides, between generations, income groups etc that were all differently affected and that some had not been affected at all whilst others had lost so much. For me it shone a spotlight on all the problems in our society such as poverty which were greatly exacerbated by the situation. 

Technology poverty was also greatly apparent.  One day everything was outdoors and people, the next day everything went online and the whole world just vanished.  Councils, Churches, shops, services all shut their doors and put their services online.  My great concern throughout was for those not online and I feel that more needs to be done now to support people to get more connected in as many preferred ways as possible.  Teaching people how to text, setting up email accounts, teaching skills around accessing online resources and services, video conference technology, as well as connection through neighbours, local groups, services, etc

Community became more important than ever .  We need to strengthen the links and foster greater connections between neighbours, community groups, third sector, businesses, faith groups, services etc.

Keeping what has been useful; the use of video conference technology for meetings enables people who generally use public transport/or are unable or find it difficult to leave home to participate in involvement or research work e.g. disabilities, health conditions, carer commitments etc.  Explore the use of technology for online training resources for the public on all forms of healthcare, caring, support groups might be useful to continue.

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COVID-19 & Xavier: Documents

My Experience During COVID-19

My Experience During COVID-19

Robert Goldsberry

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Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio); COVID-19; Coronavirus infections--Prevention; College students; Remote learning; Distance education


This short essay describes what it has been like for me living as a student during COVID.


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COVID-19 & Xavier Digital Collection

University Archives and Special Collections, Xavier University Library, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Goldsberry, Robert, "My Experience During COVID-19" (2020). COVID-19 & Xavier: Documents . 7.

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Creator has not transferred any applicable copyright to Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio) but has assigned a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International license to the work. The item cannot be used commercially or changed in any way, and any authorized use must be properly attributed. Non-commercial use is permitted. Copyright law of the United States governs the reproduction of copyrighted material. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Since May 11, 2020

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Student essays reflect Covid-19 struggles

What’s on the minds these days from students at Como Park Senior High School?

Here are essays from juniors Jude Breen, Keira Schumacher and Logan Becker who wrote these essays in late February for English teacher Elizabeth Boyer’s CIS Writing Studio class.

What A Blessing

by Jude Breen

When I reflect on the 2020 football season, I always find myself concurring with the word gratitude.

Every day at practice, Coach Scull would have us take a minute. We would sit there in perfect silence and bask in the opportunity and blessing that we were given in being able to have a season. Not only because it was nice to be doing something normal, but also for the chance to build these lifelong friendships and memories that we all will still think back on decades down the road.

I am constantly thinking back to our game against Johnson. Como hasn’t beat Johnson in football for over 10 years and Johnson likes to let us know that. There was a lot of pressure going into the game. We knew we were a good team with many weapons, but we really had to prove ourselves in this matchup.

The game was on a Saturday morning, and it was the first real cold day we had all year. The type of cold where your toes are numb and your snot is frozen inside of your nose . . . not very pretty.

Despite the crisp wind on our faces, we were fired up.

Our Cougars scored first. I threw a corner route in the end zone to Stone who tracked the rock-hard, bruising football for a touchdown. There’s no feeling quite like your first touchdown. The defense stood strong all game and only allowed one touchdown.

We went into overtime tied 6-6. The strong bodies of our defensive lineman protected the tie, then out came our offense. We direct snapped the ball to Stone and he follows his bodyguard blockers into the end zone, reaching with every inch he has to get the ball over the goal line.

And then, pandemonium ensues. We stormed the field in a sea of black. Johnson players were on their knees questioning how in the world they let Como beat them. The adrenaline running through my body made me forget all about the blistering wind chill, as Coach Scull did his victory dance in our team circle.

Once the celebration is over, the grind started all over again in preparation for the upcoming game. The next Monday we were back on our beautiful turf, again in perfect silence, processing how grateful we are for what we have done so far and what is to come.

I will never forget this season. Hard work truly does pay off, and I have unconditional gratitude for my brothers on my team, and the role models I found in the coaching staff.

A Little Bit of Happiness

By Keira Schumacher

experience during covid 19 pandemic essay

Quarantine has been a hard, boring, slow and tiring time for every­one. Being stuck in the same place day after day has made every moment feel the same. It’s almost been a year now since quarantine has started, so I’m sure that everyone has felt this repetition of days just like I have.

By now it’s very hard to find things that can separate the days for me to make them different or unique. I have hobbies that I can do at home. I draw and paint, play video games. But at some point you get sick of those too.

After months of everything being the same, I knew I had to do something to make my time in quarantine a little bit better. I didn’t think that doing little things, like cleaning my room, walking my dogs, or even just taking time to listen to music would make such an impact on my days.

Taking time for yourself and doing something solely for you and no one else have made my days a little better. When your days start to melt together without being able to separate them, you can get stuck in a rut without being able to get out. That’s happened to me a few times. Sometimes the rut lasts only a few days, but sometimes it can last weeks.

When I’m stuck in this place of repetition it demotivates me to do anything. It feels that anything I do doesn’t really matter because everything will be the same the next day and the day after that. It can be very hard for me to clear my head and start to actively do things rather than just floating through the days.

Some things that have helped me get through these ruts are making a good cup of coffee in the morning, or doing some laundry to be able to wear your favorite sweatshirt again.

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to go downhill skiing this winter, which is the biggest factor for helping me clear my mind and resetting. Being able to breath the cold crisp air on the hills as I’m speeding down. Being able to enjoy skiing with my friends has been one of the main reasons I’m not in a constant rut.

You have to work to find happiness and fulfillment in the little things.

Struggles with online learning

By Logan Becker

Onerous and loneliness are two words I would use to describe the past nine months each and every one of us has experienced. Our main issue, and quite frankly the most obvious one, would be the coronavirus.

It’s been exceptionally difficult on most of us, and the days feel as if they just keep getting worse and worse. Hearing about a vaccine was a lighthearted and a very hopeful sign that everything will turn out okay.

But, social distancing at this point has been nothing but repetitive. I fully understand it’s a safety precaution to keep everyone safe from this pandemic, but it still hurts to know I’m unable to see my friends daily.

I go through my day expecting the same thing consistently over and over again through this pandemic. It’s quite literally the same: Wake up, brush my teeth, take a shower, eat some breakfast, feed my dogs, check in on my little brother, take out the trash, make some lunch, do the dishes, do my laundry, spend time with family and go to sleep. It seems as if spending time at home has been more time consuming than my regular day life before the pandemic. And it’s not entirely easy using my precious free time to focus on school.

Online schooling is more distracting than one might think, surrounded by things you love to do, and having to ignore it to get the things more important done. I’ve always had a difficulty during normal school to get my homework done when I get home from school because I get distracted and it’s really my only time during the day to do what I want to do. But it seems as if that’s how my daily routine has wound up to be. It’s unfortunate to say the least, and overall has been stressful.

I’ve talked with other students about this over Google meets, and we’ve all come to the same consensus that we lack tons of motivation when doing school at home.

Additionally, I find nearly no time to step away from this and haven’t given myself much time to just relax and enjoy myself without the weight of school on my chest. . . . I’m quite fully sure there are hundreds of more students who have dealt with this monstrous difficulty, and it’s been a very strenuous position to be in.

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Open Access


Research Article

The good, the bad, and the mixed: Experiences during COVID-19 among an online sample of adults

Roles Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

* E-mail: [email protected]

Affiliation Department of Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America

ORCID logo

Roles Conceptualization, Writing – original draft

Affiliation Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Roles Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing – original draft

Roles Supervision, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Roles Conceptualization, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – review & editing

  • Devin J. Mills, 
  • Julia Petrovic, 
  • Jessica Mettler, 
  • Chloe A. Hamza, 
  • Nancy L. Heath


  • Published: June 24, 2022
  • Reader Comments

Table 1

Studies have outlined the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic to psychological health. However, the potential within-individual diversity of experiences during COVID-19, and how such experiences relate to indices of psychological distress and COVID-19-specific stressors, remains to be explored. A large online sample of American MTurk Workers ( N = 3,731; M age = 39.54 years, SD = 13.12; 51.70% female) completed short assessments of psychological distress, COVID-19-specific stressors (e.g., wage loss, death), and seven items assessing negative and positive COVID-19 experiences. Latent profile analyses were used to identify underlying profiles of COVID-19 experiences. A four-profile solution was retained representing profiles that were: (1) predominantly positive ( n = 839; 22.49%), (2) predominantly negative ( n = 849; 22.76%), (3) moderately mixed ( n = 1,748; 46.85%), and (4) high mixed ( n = 295; 7.91%). The predominantly positive profile was associated with lower psychological distress, whereas both the predominantly negative and high mixed profiles were associated with higher psychological distress. Interestingly, specific COVID-19 stressful events were associated with the high mixed profile. The present study challenges the narrative that the impacts of COVID-19 have been unilaterally negative. Future directions for research are proposed.

Citation: Mills DJ, Petrovic J, Mettler J, Hamza CA, Heath NL (2022) The good, the bad, and the mixed: Experiences during COVID-19 among an online sample of adults. PLoS ONE 17(6): e0269382.

Editor: Goran Knežević, Univerzitet u Beogradu Filozofski Fakultet, SERBIA

Received: August 17, 2021; Accepted: May 19, 2022; Published: June 24, 2022

Copyright: © 2022 Mills et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: Data for the present study are available online here: ( ).

Funding: The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


The COVID-19 pandemic, along with the unprecedented series of lockdowns that followed its onset, caused drastic disruptions to day-to-day life globally. A substantial proportion of students and employees experienced a sudden shift to remote work and lockdown measures abruptly halted social activities, leading to increased social isolation [ 1 , 2 ]. Accordingly, to date, there are multiple studies which have focused on the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic onset, with several highlighting aversive psychological impacts [ 3 – 5 ]. However, it has been suggested that an overemphasis on the negative consequences of COVID-19 may bring about expectancy effects [ 6 ] and the capacity for resilience in response to COVID-19 cannot be discounted in our investigations of the impact of the pandemic [ 7 , 8 ]. Moreover, a balanced exploration into both negative and positive experiences during early months of the pandemic, their potential for co-occurrence, and whether they differ as a function of COVID-19-specific COVID-19 stressful events remains to be examined. Thus, the present study took a person-centered approach to examine the potential variability in COVID-19 experiences among a large and diverse sample of adults, and to investigate how differences in specific COVID-19-related stressors (i.e., loss of wages, COVID-19 diagnosis of self or loved one, death of loved one due to COVID-19) were associated with COVID-19 experiences.

Negative experiences during COVID-19

During the early months of COVID-19, numerous studies reported on the negative impacts and stressful events associated with the first series of global lockdowns. Here, we distinguish between psychological experiences during COVID-19 (e.g., feeling stressed, sad, or lonely) and COVID-19 stressful events (e.g., job loss, death). Heightened levels of mental health difficulties were commonly reported (e.g., distress, anxiety, depression) [ 4 , 5 , 9 , 10 ]. However, emerging longitudinal research suggests these effects may be small, and there is likely considerable variability in the psychological experiences of COVID-19 [ 6 ]. Nevertheless, psychological harms, concern towards the health of vulnerable loved ones, as well as loss of leisure and health activities, were commonly reported during the early months of COVID-19 [ 2 , 11 ].

Other studies have focused on the mental health disparities associated with COVID-19. For instance, two studies of individuals with eating disorders found that disordered eating behaviours were exacerbated in the first few weeks of the pandemic [ 12 , 13 ]; these were among a number of studies to report that COVID-19 exacerbated the struggles of groups experiencing various difficulties prior to the onset of the pandemic. In another early pandemic study, Iob and colleagues [ 14 ] found that COVID-19 instigated an amplification of pre-existing inequalities among disadvantaged groups including ethnic minority groups, those experiencing socioeconomic disadvantages, and the unemployed. Furthermore, in a qualitative study of distress and coping in India during the first COVID-19 lockdown, disadvantaged groups with limited access to mobile phones, health messaging, or health care experienced extreme distress and despair, greater health needs, loss of income, and further social exclusion as a result of the pandemic [ 10 ]. Taken together, these findings suggest that COVID-19 may have worsened existing psychosocial and financial inequalities [ 5 , 15 ].

Social isolation has been commonly reported as a primary cause of increased psychological distress among some individuals during COVID-19 [ 11 ]. One longitudinal study of university students revealed that individuals without pre-existing mental health concerns were more likely than individuals with pre-existing mental health concerns to experience declining mental health during the early months of the pandemic, which corresponded with increased social isolation among these students (whereas there was no change for students with pre-existing mental health concerns) [ 16 ]. Other contextual factors that have been found to be contributors to negative COVID-19 experiences among general population samples during the early months of the pandemic include economic fallout (e.g., wage loss), grief from having lost a loved one to COVID-19, trauma associated with surviving COVID-19, the inability to see relatives (especially older relatives), having to manage the impracticalities of working or schooling from home, the disruption of social and recreational activities, and frustration with the media or government [ 2 , 17 ]. In short, much of the literature has focused on the negative consequences associated with COVID-19 events without accounting for the possibility of positive experiences emanating from COVID-19 events.

Positive COVID-19 experiences

Despite the numerous negative psychological experiences of the onset of COVID-19 on populations worldwide, preliminary findings have shed light on the possibility that the experiences of COVID-19 during its early months have not been unanimously negative [ 6 , 18 ]. For example, a study by Pinkham and colleagues [ 19 ] of individuals with severe mental illness found that their affective experiences and psychotic symptoms remained stable throughout the early months of the pandemic, and that they actually experienced an increase in well-being during this timeframe. Additionally, a longitudinal study with over 50,000 UK adults found that across early pandemic months, individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions experienced significantly greater decreases in anxiety than individuals without pre-existing mental health conditions [ 20 ]. These findings suggest that in certain instances, the onset of COVID-19 brought about positive, rather than negative, psychological impact for some individuals.

A limited number of studies have explored positive experiences during the onset of the pandemic among more general populations. Indeed, research suggests that the shared experience of the pandemic may have strengthened social connectedness, since people reported feeling as though “we are all in this together” [ 6 , 21 , 22 ]. Even among disadvantaged groups who report a disproportionate degree of negative COVID-19 experiences, themes of resilience and healthy coping have emerged in reports of their experiences, which have included reports of social connectedness as well as finding sense and meaning in the pandemic [ 10 ]. Typically, these studies have been limited in the breadth of positive experiences examined.

To our knowledge, only four studies have specifically focused on the investigation of a broad range of positive experiences during early COVID-19 months among general community samples. The first was a cross-sectional online study by Stallard and colleagues [ 23 ] which investigated positive COVID-19 experiences reported by parents and caregivers (88.6% of the sample were mothers) in Portugal and the UK during the first lockdown. It was found that as many as 88.6% of participants identified positives arising from COVID-19 within an open-ended question. A second cross-sectional study by Williams and colleagues [ 18 ] conducted in Scotland during the first lockdown explored positive changes experienced during COVID-19, and the underlying sociodemographic predictors of such changes. Again, the majority of participants reported positive changes including having more quality time with their partner (53.3%), to be in nature (65.2%), do enjoyable activities (67.4%), and exercise (53.9%). Participants also reported being more appreciative of things usually taken for granted (82.6%). A third study by Schmiedeberg and Thönnissen [ 24 ] of German adults explored the extent to which individuals held positive and/or negative perceptions regarding COVID-19. Using two items, one for positive perception and one for negative perception, the authors found 61% agreed with positive perceptions towards COVID-19 (i.e., being able to see the positive sides of the pandemic), whereas only 26% agreed with negative perceptions (i.e., feeling strongly affected by the pandemic). Finally, Hampshire and colleagues [ 2 ] investigated positive and negative COVID-19 experiences during May 2020 among a large sample ( N > 100,000) of participants aged 16 to 85 and older, as well as sociodemographic and neurological/psychiatric predictors of such experiences. Participants reported strong endorsement of a number of positive COVID-19 experiences (i.e., improved natural environment, enjoying the simpler things in life, spending less money, and a greater sense of community) as well as of a number of negative COVID-19 experiences (i.e., loss of leisure/health activities, and concern for health of loved ones, which was higher than concern about one’s own health). Furthermore, sociodemographic characteristics, work, environment, and social circumstances revealed robust associations with the nature and extent of self-reported positive and negative COVID-19 experiences.

Taken together, the studies outlined above highlight the importance of measuring multiple dimensions of both negative and positive COVID-19 experiences when quantifying the breadth of impacts of the onset of COVID-19. Yet, much of the available research presents a view of the effect of COVID-19 as all negative, and research that has assessed the positive outcomes of COVID-19 is limited. Hampshire and colleagues [ 2 ] assessed a comprehensive overview of both positive and negative experiences revealing a sufficient number of participants endorsed both positive and negative. This is due to past research primarily using variable-centered approaches, which help to reveal general associations among variables but fail to account for individual variability across a set of variables. As a result, researchers have yet to examine whether there are subgroups of individuals, based on the scores on both positive and negative indicators (e.g., someone who is strongly positive, but also somewhat negative). A person-centered analysis takes into account this heterogeneity.

The present study

The present study sought to explore the range of experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic among an online community sample of adults, as well as whether COVID-19-specific stressful events were related to such experiences. The first objective was thus to investigate the factor structure of a researcher-designed measure of negative and positive COVID-19 experiences and its convergent and divergent validity with psychological distress markers (i.e., stress, anxiety, depression). Given the paucity of work exploring the potential positives of COVID-19, developing this scale represents an important contribution to the emerging literature on the effects of COVID-19 on individuals. Based on previous literature, we hypothesized that two distinct factors would emerge: one for negative COVID-19 experiences and one for positive COVID-19 experiences. Furthermore, we anticipated that negative experiences during COVID-19 would be associated with greater stress, anxiety, and depression. Conversely, positive experiences related to COVID-19 were expected to be associated with less stress, anxiety, and depression. Given that many authors have suggested that impacts of COVID-19 will continue long after the pandemic has ended, [ 25 ], this scale can continue to be used to explore both positive and negative experiences resulting from the pandemic in the years to come. However, it is also expected that the measure may be easily adapted to assess positive and negative experiences to other global, national, or local crises (e.g., political unrest, natural disasters).

The second objective of this study was to use a person-centered approach to identify underlying profiles of COVID-19 experiences, taking into account the diversity of negative and positive experiences. Contrary to a variable-centered approach, the person-centered approach is expected to yield more information regarding the underlying relationship of both negative and positive COVID-19 experiences within individuals. Finally, the third objective sought to better understand the emergent profiles by comparing them in terms of differences in demographic information, psychological distress, and specific stressful events during COVID-19 (i.e., loss of wages, diagnosis of self or other, knowing someone who died from COVID-19). Given the inherently exploratory nature of this approach, no specific hypotheses were made for these last two objectives.

COVID-19 context

The first COVID-19 case in the United States was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on January 21, 2020, and a Public Health Emergency was declared within two weeks on February 3, 2020. On March 12, 2020, financial markets were down nearly 10% in the United States with rising concerns of business closings. By late March, many states enacted stay-at-home orders, and employees began to be furloughed. Unemployment within the US jumped from less than 5% in February to nearly 15% by April. Although cases continued to rise in the United States, many state-mandated stay-at-home orders expired by the end of May. As of June 2020, the financial challenges were amplified by the rising health concerns as the confirmed COVID-19 case count in the United States exceeded 2 million with more than 100,000 deaths related to complications with COVID-19. This represents the context in which the present data was collected. Data for the present study are available online here: .

Participants and procedure

The Texas Tech University Review Board (IRB2019-920) approved the present study. Participants were provided information about the study prior to completing the online survey anonymously. As part of a larger study on the mental health and risky behaviors of workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTURK), a short, five-minute survey was posted on MTURK to screen participants for future research. MTURK has been used extensively in social sciences with research demonstrating benefits including cost effectiveness, speed, and data quality [ 26 , 27 ]. The survey was created in Qualtrics and posted on MTURK via the platform [ 28 ] which, in addition to being user friendly, offers additional services including blocking known problem workers and bots. Participants provided their informed consent following a review of the intended research goals and continued to the online survey.

The survey was open for a seven-day period from June 8, 2020 to June 14, 2020 and was only open to participants with ≥ 90% approval in at least 100 previous assignments on MTURK. Participants were paid $0.50. In total, 4,771 participants initiated the survey on MTURK. Participants were excluded for missing one or more attention item ( n = 640), engaging in “straight lining” ( n = 226), or submitting missing data ( n = 174). The final sample included 3,731 participants ( M age = 39.54 years, SD = 13.12; 51.70% female) (see Table 1 for sample demographics).


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Negative and positive experiences during COVID-19.

Seven items were created for the purposes of the present study based on previous exploratory, qualitative interviews with adults regarding their experiences during the early months of COVID-19. Items followed the prompt, “ Relative to months before COVID-19 …” and were rated on a 6-point scale ranging from Strongly Disagree (1) to Strongly Agree (6). The brevity of the scale was intentional as it reduces participant burden and would be scalable for future large-scale studies including continued COVID-19 research. Further, a briefer measure would make it more useful in clinical contexts. Table 2 presents these items and the item descriptives.



Basic demographics were collected including sex, age, race, level of education, and income. Due to the timing of data collection within the United States, it was possible that some individuals were experiencing complicated circumstances regarding their employment status; as a result, participants reported their employment prior to COVID-19.

Specific COVID-19 events.

Three Yes/No questions were asked regarding specific COVID-19 events: (1) Have you lost wages because of the COVID-19 pandemic ?; (2) Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19) ?; and (3) Has someone you know died due to complications with the coronavirus (COVID-19) ?

Stress, depression, and anxiety.

Short forms of psychological distress measures were selected due to space restrictions. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) [ 29 ] was used to assess subjective experiences of stress during the past month. Items were rated on 5-point scale ranging from Never (0) to Very Often (4). The internal consistency of the PSS-4 was 0.81 in the present study. Two-item versions of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ2) [ 30 ] and the General Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD2) [ 31 ] were used to assess depressive and anxiety symptoms, respectively. For both scales, participants rated the occurrence of symptoms over the past two weeks on a scale ranging from Not at all (0) to Nearly every day (3), with higher scores indicating greater levels of depression and anxiety. The correlation between the two PHQ2 items was 0.78, and between the two GAD2 items was 0.75. Sample descriptives are present in Table 1 .

Data analysis

Data were cleaned and descriptive statistics computed in SPSS version 26 [ 32 ]. Mplus version 8 [ 33 ] was used evaluate the factor structure of the seven created items assessing negative and positive experiences related to COVID-19. After randomly splitting the sample in half, data from the first group ( n = 1,888; M age = 39.54 years, SD = 13.06; 51.70% female) were used within an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with Promax rotation. Data from the second group ( n = 1,843; M age = 39.40, SD = 13.17; 50.19% female) were used in a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) with robust maximum likelihood to further confirm the observed factor structure observed within the EFA. Several goodness-of-fit indices were used to assess the fit of the data to the resulting factor structure including the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA; ≤ .05), comparative fit index (CFI; ≥ .90), Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI; ≥ .90), and standardized root mean squared residual (SRMR; ≤ .06) [ 34 ].

Subsequently, a series of latent profiles (LPAs) were conducted using the seven individual items with means and variances freely estimated [ 35 ]. All models were estimated with 5000 random start values, 1000 iterations, and the 200 best solutions were retained. Starting with a model with one profile, model with an increasing number of profiles were considered. Values for the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC), the Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC), and the Sample-Size-Adjusted BIC (SSABIC) graphed following each LPA in order to identify the point at which decreases in these information criteria begin to plateau (i.e., the “elbow”) [ 35 , 36 ].

The adjusted Lo-Mendell-Rubin likelihood ratio test (aLRT) was conducted for models with 2 or more profiles, which tests whether the model with k profiles is preferred to one with to k– 1 profiles. A significant result suggests preference for the model with k profiles [ 37 ]. Although not used in the selection process [ 38 , 39 ], entropy is commonly reported as it provides an assessment of the precision classification. Entropy values range from 0 (high uncertainty) to 1 (low uncertainty).

Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis

The resulting eigenvalues from the EFA with Promax rotation for the first two factors were 2.94 (Factor 1) and 1.49 (Factor 2) and accounted for 42.00% and 21.29% of the variance, respectively. The eigenvalues for the remaining factors were less than 0.80 and not considered. Loadings from the EFA are presented in Table 2 . Factor 1 represented negative COVID-19 experiences (e.g., I have been more stressed), whereas Factor 2 represented positive COVID-19 experiences (e.g., I have felt happier). The two factors were modestly negatively correlated ( r = -0.38). Results from CFA revealed a slightly below adequate fit of the data to this 2-factor model ( χ 2 (13) = 202.45, p < .001; RMSEA = 0.09 90%CI[0.08, 0.10]; CFI = 0.94; TLI = 0.91; SRMR = 0.04). After reviewing the modification indices, error terms were allowed to correlate between item 2 and item 5 and between item 5 and item 6, which improved fit to an acceptable level ( χ 2 (11) = 115.04, p < .001; RMSEA = 0.07 90%CI[0.06, 0.08]; CFI = 0.97; TLI = 0.94; SRMR = 0.04). Loadings from the CFA are presented in Table 2 . The correlation between negative and positive COVID-19 experiences was -0.51, p < 0.001.

Data from the entire sample were used within a measurement model in which negative and positive COVID-19 experiences (as modelled in the CFA) were covaried with composite scores on the PSS4, PHQ2, and GAD2, thus providing estimates of the bivariate correlations between the two COVID-19 experiences and the three indices of psychological distress through the TECH4 function of Mplus. Data fit the model adequately ( χ 2 (26) = 535.30, p < .001; RMSEA = 0.07 90% CI [0.06, 0.08]; CFI = 0.96; TLI = 0.93; SRMR = 0.03). Results largely supported expectations in that negative COVID-19 experiences were positively associated with scores on the PSS4 ( r = 0.62, p < .001), PHQ2 ( r = 0.62, p < .001), and GAD2 ( r = 0.62, p < .001), whereas positive COVID-19 experiences would be negatively associated with scores on the PSS4 ( r = -0.30, p < .001), PHQ2 ( r = -0.17, p < .001), and GAD2 ( r = -0.15, p < .001).

Latent profile analysis

Table 3 presents the model selection indices for each of the seven profiles. Values for the AIC, BIC, and SABIC were graphed in order to identify the point at which the decline in values plateaued (i.e., the “elbow”; see Fig 1 ). This was observed following the rise from four to five profiles suggesting a preference for the four-profile model. This was supported by the significant aLRT. Nonetheless, significant aLRTs also support both five- or six-profile models. As such, the five- and six-profile models were considered but found to result in largely uninterpretable profiles. Therefore, the four-profile model was selected.



Fig 2 presents the means of the seven items across each of the four profiles. Profile 1 ( n = 839; 22.49%) is the “Predominantly Positive” profile representing those who more strongly endorsed positive versus negative experiences related to COVID-19. Profile 2 ( n = 1,748; 46.85%) is the “Moderately Mixed” profile representing those who moderately endorsed both positive and negative experiences related to COVID-19. Profile 3 ( n = 849; 22.76%) is the “Predominantly Negative” profile representing those who more strongly endorsed negative experiences related to COVID-19. Profile 4 ( n = 295; 7.91%) is the “High Mixed” profile representing those who strongly endorsed both positive and negative experiences related to COVID-19.


Table 4 presents demographics across the four profiles. Significant differences, albeit small based on Cramer’s V (see note in tables), were found across sex, race/ethnicity, employment prior to COVID-19, and annual income ( p ’s < 0.001). Bonferroni-adjusted post-hoc comparisons were conducted to further explore the differences in the proportions. Results revealed that males were slightly over-represented in the Moderate Mixed and High Mixed profiles, whereas females were over-represented in the predominantly negative profile. Differences in race were largely attributed to an over-representation of Hispanic/Latino and African American/Black in the High Mixed profile. Those who were either laid off or looking for work prior to COVID-19 were over-represented within the Moderate Mixed profile. Additionally, those who were retired, disabled, or otherwise unable to work prior to COVID-19 were over-represented in the predominately positive and predominately negative profile. Finally, high earners ($100,000 or more) were over-represented in the predominately positive profile, whereas, low earners (less than $29,999) were over-represented in the predominately negative profile. Below average ($30,000 to $49,999) and average ($50,000 to $99,999) earners were over-represented in the high mixed profile.


Table 5 presents differences in age and psychological distress. The High Mixed profile was associated with being younger and experiencing greater psychological distress.


Finally, Table 6 presents the proportion of each profile endorsing specific COVID-19 events. Relative to the other groups, a greater proportion of those in the High Mixed group indicated a loss of wages, having been themselves or knowing someone else that was diagnosed with COVID-19, and knowing someone who died due to COVID-19 complications.


The present study is the first to investigate the within-individual co-occurrence of negative and positive experiences during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic among an online, diverse community sample of adults. The first objective was to validate the researcher-designed measure used to assess negative and positive experiences in terms of its factor structure as well as its divergent and convergent validity with markers of psychological distress. The second objective was to identify underlying profiles of negative and positive COVID-19 experiences using a person-centered approach, which provides a more nuanced perspective than the more commonly variable-centered approach prior research has employed. Finally, the third objective sought to better understand these emergent profiles by exploring how they differed in terms of specific stressful events during COVID-19, psychological distress, and demographic information.

Over the past year, the leading narrative, both in research and in the media, on the psychological and mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has primarily focused on the negative impacts of the pandemic due to increased stress, anxiety, grief, and social isolation measures [ 5 , 14 , 15 ]. However, this narrative was not consistent with the experiences of more than three-quarters of the sample in the present study, who reported at least modest positive experiences during COVID-19. This finding is consistent with a growing body of literature suggesting that COVID-19 experiences may extend beyond negative experiences and include positive experiences as well. Moreover, the present study is the first to apply a person-centered approach to identify four unique profiles of experiences, extending the findings of previous studies that have largely focused on the frequency of negative and/or positive experiences without fully accounting for the individual variability of the COVID-19 experiences or exploring whether or not negative and positive experiences may co-occur within an individual. Furthermore, these studies have either had a non-diverse sample (e.g., primarily female) or have focused on further examining the correlates of negative and positive COVID-19 experiences independently rather than investigating these experiences from a person-centered lens approach. Thus, the present study is unique in exploring concurrent reports of negative and positive experiences in the early onset of the pandemic within a diverse community sample.

This study is also among the first to develop and validate a brief measure assessing the diversity of COVID-19 experiences. As hypothesized, results from an EFA and a CFA revealed a two-factor structure for COVID-19 experiences, with negative and positive experiences emerging as two distinct factors. Further validation of these factors with psychological distress constructs (i.e., stress, anxiety, and depression) suggests that these factors function differently from one another. Specifically, as expected, negative COVID experiences significantly and positively correlated with markers of psychological distress. Similarly, results also indicated that psychological distress constructs were significantly inversely associated with positive experiences, although these relationships were weaker than those with negative experiences. Future research should explore whether positive COVID-19 experiences are in fact associated with concurrent experiences of subjective well-being and vitality [ 40 , 41 ].

The present findings are additionally consistent with previous literature on both COVID-19 experiences and the divergent relationship between negative and positive emotions indicating that positive experiences, whether COVID-19-specific or not, are weakly yet negatively associated with negative psychological constructs or responses to affective stimuli [ 42 , 43 ]. This is also in line with positive psychology research on the dual continua of mental health and mental illness in which positive experiences have been found to function in a distinct and different way from negative experiences [ 44 , 45 ]. Specifically, positive psychology research suggests that the presence of negative experiences (i.e., constructs associated with mental illness such as stress, anxiety, depression) does not inherently suggest an absence of positive experiences (i.e., constructs associated with mental health such as happiness, life satisfaction, wellbeing) and that the complex relationship and interaction between negative and positive experiences merits further investigation [ 44 ].

The present study’s profile analysis revealed an interesting and counterintuitive pattern whereby the majority of participants reported a mixed experience of either moderate levels of both negative and positive emotions (46.85%) or high levels of both negative and positive emotions (7.91%). This simultaneous reporting of positive and negative experiences that emerged in the LPA has not been previously documented in COVID-19 literature and challenges the cultural narrative that negative psychological experiences have been predominant during the COVID-19 pandemic [ 15 ]. Indeed, only 22.76% of the present sample reported predominantly negative experiences during the early onset of the pandemic. Thus, these findings highlight the importance of using a person-centered approach in investigating experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to consider both positive and negative experiences in tandem.

Moreover, having established the emergence of four distinct profiles of COVID-19 experiences, the present study sought to better understand these profiles through an investigation of contributing factors including demographics, psychological distress variables, and specific stressful events during COVID-19. To be clear, the small effect sizes, based on Cramer’s V, suggest a cautious interpretation. Nonetheless, some interesting patterns became apparent in the comparison of these profiles. First, participants who reported predominantly negative experiences during the onset of COVID-19 were significantly proportionately more likely to be female, retired, disabled or not working, as well as to report low income. This finding is in line with previous literature [ 10 , 14 , 45 , 46 ] which has found that individuals who have reported more negative experiences in response to the onset of COVID-19 have tended to be those already in a position of psychosocial or financial disadvantage. Thus, although they may not have reported experiencing the greatest number of challenges, individuals reporting predominantly negative experiences during COVID-19 in the present study may have been in a greater position of vulnerability at the onset of the pandemic. However, surprisingly, participants who reported predominantly negative experiences during the onset of COVID-19 were not the ones who experienced the highest proportion of stressful events during the early onset of the pandemic.

Interestingly, individuals who reported high levels of both negative and positive COVID-19 experiences were also more likely to have experienced the highest proportion of adverse COVID-19 specific events. Specifically, they were more likely to report loss of wages, having received or knowing someone who received a diagnosis of COVID-19, or having lost someone due to COVID-19 complications. They were also the profile most likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression and the second most likely to report stress. Thus, although the plethora of challenges caused by the pandemic may have brought about intense negative experiences for these individuals, results suggest that these individuals reported endorsing a high degree of positive experiences during the early months of the COVID-19 as well.

A possible explanation for this discrepancy could be that the high negative and positive experiences reported by individuals in this profile occurred sequentially rather than simultaneously. We hope that future research addresses the temporal order of both negative and positive experiences during COVID-19 as researchers begin to analyze their longitudinal data on the psychological impacts of the pandemic. In the present study, it may have been the case that individuals within the High Mixed profile had good resources to begin with, which may have enabled them to cope well with the high number of challenges that they encountered. This is tentatively supported by the fact that the individuals in this profile were significantly more likely to be working prior to the pandemic and to be reporting an annual income between $30,000 to $99,000.

Alternatively, it may be that the high negative and positive experiences reported during the pandemic occurred simultaneously for these individuals. Although seemingly counter-intuitive, this would be consistent with stress research showing that positive and negative emotions cannot only co-occur during chronic high stress periods but that positive emotions may be a critical part of the stress response in order to foster resilience [ 47 ]. Specifically, during periods of high and chronic stress, beyond the natural negative experiences resulting from an adverse situation, individuals may also report positive experiences as a result of trying to form a sense of personal meaning and growth out of the experience [ 23 , 47 , 48 ]. Nevertheless, future longitudinal research is needed in order to elucidate these findings.

In summary, the present study builds upon existing research in the UK in which similar reports of both negative and positive experiences specific to the pandemic were found also using a validated, researcher-designed measure [ 2 ]. This communality in finding distinct reports of both negative and positive experiences, despite the fact that the US and UK’s highly politicized national responses to the pandemic were arguably two of the most globally controversial [ 49 ], speaks to the underlying strength of this finding. Furthermore, most interestingly, these findings provide a unique contribution by using a person-centered approach to investigate the complexity and diversity of profiles of experiences during the pandemic. These findings document a strong pattern of mixed negative and positive experiences specific to COVID-19, which further strengthens the growing body of literature regarding the complexity of experiences and the surprising potential for resilience during the pandemic.

Limitations & future directions

The present study is not without limitations. For instance, while its cross-sectional design allowed for a detailed snapshot of individuals’ experiences during the early onset of the pandemic, longitudinal research is needed to elucidate the temporal order of negative and positive experiences during COVID-19, as well as to extend the current findings by considering the potential for adjustment and adaptation in response to stressful events [ 48 , 50 ], such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, while the development and validation of a brief measure of negative and positive experiences during COVID-19 was a novel contribution to the field, further research is needed to potentially expand this measure by considering a broader range of experiences which have been highlighted in the growing body of literature [ 2 , 18 ]. Similarly, this researcher-developed assessment was validated with self-report measures of psychological distress of which two assessed experiences during the past two weeks (PHQ-2; GAD-2) and one assessed experiences during the past month (PSS-4). As such, future research should seek to further validate this measure with more robust clinical assessments of psychological functioning. Finally, the use of MTURK has its own limitations. First, although the present study’s sample was more economically diverse than previous samples and included a more even sex distribution [ 2 , 18 , 23 ], the sample still suffers from being largely White or Caucasian, a common limitation of MTURK samples. Therefore, the generalizability of the present findings is limited, and research with more ethnically diverse samples is warranted. Second, as noted by one of our reviewers, there is concern within the field as to whether or not the sample characteristics are accurate. Indeed, this is a general limitation with any self-report data including data from university and/or community samples. Nonetheless, data was rigorously screened for completeness, inattention, and suspicious response patterns in order to maintain high data integrity.


Despite these limitations, the findings in the present study challenge the common narrative, both in research and media reports, that the impacts of COVID-19 have been predominantly negative. In fact, we found that the vast majority of individuals indicated that they had experienced positive experiences in the context of the pandemic. These findings highlight the need for the current discourse on COVID-19 experiences to move beyond a deficit and pathology-oriented model to a salutogenic and strengths-based approach that takes into account human resiliency in the context of the pandemic. In addition, the brief, validated assessment of diverse experiences during COVID-19 that was developed in the present study can henceforth be used, for both research and clinical purposes, to tap both negative and positive experiences simultaneously with a broad range of samples; assessing both gradients of negative and positive impacts of COVID-19 is necessary to ascertain a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s functioning during the pandemic. Furthermore, the emergence of four distinct profiles in the present study also highlights that individuals’ experiences during the early months of COVID-19 have not been unilaterally positive or negative, but rather, highly diverse and undeniably complex. These findings underscore the importance of taking into account the complexity of individuals’ responses to the pandemic in future efforts to quantify the wide range of COVID-19 experiences that may include factors from the area of positive psychology [ 51 ]. Lastly, by drawing on data related to psychological distress, COVID-19-specific events, and demographics, the current findings provide novel insights into which individuals have been most at-risk during the pandemic and can inform targeted prevention and intervention for resilience-building during and beyond COVID-19.

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  • 34. Kline RB. Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. Fourth Edi. New York: The Guilford Press; 2016.
  • 49. Yamey G, Wenham C. The U.S. and U.K. Were the Two Best Prepared Nations to Tackle a Pandemic—What Went Wrong? TIME [Internet]. 2020 Jul;


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