Damian Stanley, PhD is an assistant professor of psychology at Adelphi University

A new study co-led by Adelphi University Assistant Professor of Psychology Damian Stanley, PhD, provides a window into the psychological, social and emotional impacts of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-Dynamic: A large-scale longitudinal study of socioemotional and behavioral change across the pandemic,” was recently published in the journal Scientific Data – Nature.

In mid-March of 2020, it became apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic would be a global event the likes of which had not been seen for over half a century. Realizing that this event would provide a unique opportunity to understand how human psychological, social and emotional processes respond in situations of great duress, the COVID-Dynamic Team brought together laboratories from six different institutions.

“Usually, scientific studies are driven by carefully thought out theories and specific hypotheses, but in this case, we had no way of knowing how extreme the pandemic would get, how long we would be living with it or what the most interesting questions would be. For these reasons, we set out with the goal of capturing as detailed a picture of psychological, emotional, moral, attitudinal and behavioral change as we could,” said Dr. Stanley. “The dataset is unique in that it contains an extremely broad and methodologically diverse range of psychological and behavioral measures that were collected repeatedly from the same group of roughly 1,000 U.S. residents in 16 waves from April 2020 until January 2021, and thus over the course of a very turbulent year.”

The newly published dataset is not limited to the primary impacts of COVID-19 on mental health, but also details other aspects of how U.S. residents responded in 2020, including racial and political attitudes surrounding the Black Lives Matter protests following the killing of George Floyd, feelings concerning the 2020 U.S. election and sources and topics of daily media consumption. In addition, Dr. Stanley and the team of researchers quantified basic psychological attributes in their participants (such as personality traits, views on authoritarianism and altruistic behaviors). This dataset, now available to the public, should be of great interest to clinicians, basic researchers, policymakers and many others.

While this publication does not itself present any findings based on the dataset, the COVID-Dynamic Team has many targeted studies in various stages of analysis and production.

“We are working on many studies using the dataset that we look forward to publishing in the near future,” said Dr. Stanley. “But we are also very excited to see what interesting findings other groups will be able to produce in the months and years to come. By promoting the dataset we hope to facilitate that happening.”

Collaborators on this study included Adelphi University, the California Institute of Technology, Chapman University, The City College of New York (CUNY), Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Yale University.

Learn more about “COVID-Dynamic: A large-scale longitudinal study of socioemotional and behavioral change across the pandemic” in Scientific Data – Nature and at coviddynamic.caltech.edu.

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