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Impact of COVID-19 on Youth Academic Experiences in Washington: Learning and Mental Health Implications


Jason R. Kilmer, PhD

Scott Graupensperger, PhD



Young adults are in a vulnerable developmental stage marked by major life transitions and pressures to meet key milestones regarding relationships, education/careers, and financial independence. This stress was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and there has been concern regarding young adults’ mental health and substance use behaviors as a consequence of these stressors. The presentation highlights longitudinal trends in young adults' mental health and substance use behaviors throughout the pandemic and examines within-person associations with COVID-19-related stressors in a number of life domains.

There are many narratives about what a largely virtual academic year was like for students in 6th through 12th grades, but many have not had the chance to hear directly from students about their experiences, nor has there been the opportunity to explore if there were differential impacts of the pandemic for certain groups of students.