Impact of COVID-19 on Safety and Mental Health

We are seeking participants for a 20- to 30-minute Indiana University study about how COVID-19 and the social distancing associated with COVID-19 are impacting individuals’ safety, relationships, and mental health.

To participate:

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic—and the social distancing associated with the pandemic—affects mental health, substance use, and relationship conflict (including intimate partner violence) among adults in the United States. We are evaluating a variety of factors, including experiences in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, which might contribute to vulnerability and resilience during this challenging time. This information can help to inform and target psychological interventions for those who are struggling with mental health challenges due to the pandemic and to develop preventative approaches to keep individuals safe and healthy during future disasters.


Participation is open to all adults age 18 and over who live in the United States. Recruitment began in mid-April 2020. Participants are being recruited through social media and through advertisements and postings on websites and listservs.

Participants complete an online questionnaire in which they provide information about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, their relationship (if they are in one), and their demographics. They also complete validated measures of relationship conflict (if relevant); depression, anxiety, and stress; feeling of distress in relations to the pandemic, substance use, and past history of distressing or traumatic experiences.

Participants have the option to provide their contact information for follow-up questionnaires and interviews. We will follow-up with a select group of volunteers over the next 6 months to evaluate how their mental health, relationship conflict, and substance use changes (or remains the same) as social distancing decreases and stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Research Team

Dr. Zoë PetersonDirector of the Kinsey Institute Sexual Assault Research Initiative and faculty member in Counseling and Educational Psychology

Dr. Ellen Vaughan, faculty member in Counseling and Educational Psychology

Research Publications

Peterson, Z. D., Vaughan, E. L., & Carver, D. N. (2020). Sexual Identity and Psychological Reactions to COVID-19.Traumatology. Advance online publication.




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