NIH awards $1.95M to study state-level COVID policies, mental health

Shannon Monnat 2021 captionShannon Monnat, associate professor of sociology and Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion, is the principal investigator for a five-year research project that will examine the impacts of state COVID-19 mitigation policies on adult psychological health, drug overdose and suicide.

Funded with $1.95 million from the National Institutes of Health, the project seeks to identify how the policies U.S. states enacted to combat the spread and adverse effects of COVID-19 may have affected psychological health and mortality from drug overdose and suicide among working age and older adults in both the immediate and longer terms.

“The findings will be essential for informing better policy responses in future pandemics,” says Monnat, who also serves as co-director of the Maxwell School’s Policy, Place and Population Health Lab (P3H), housed within the Aging Studies Institute (ASI).

The study’s co-investigators from the Aging Studies Institute include Jennifer Karas Montez, University Professor of Sociology, Gerald B. Cramer Faculty Scholar in Aging Studies, director of the Center for Aging and Policy Studies and co-director of P3H; Douglas Wolf, Gerald B. Cramer Professor of Aging Studies and professor of public administration and international affairs; and Emily Wiemers, associate professor of public administration and international affairs. David Wheeler, associate professor of biostatistics at Virginia Commonwealth University, will also serve as a co-investigator.

The project will provide novel large-scale data on adult COVID-19 experiences and well-being and use the variation in policy responses across states to shed light on which policies and combinations of policies are consequential for adult psychological health and related mortality, the mechanisms through which policies affect those outcomes and the population subgroups that may have been disproportionately impacted.

By, Jessica Youngman, 10/04/21