Honors Program

Honors in Psychology

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Dr. Diana Morelen

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Dr. Jameson Hirsch


Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression can have many adverse effects on physical health, including immunosuppression and increased susceptibility to disease. For the last year, the world has endured sustained stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has had its own impact on mental health. Stress from COVID-19 will likely have an even greater impact on the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) workforce due to the stressful nature of their work. Self-care has been shown to improve overall wellbeing and act as a buffer for stress. Therefore, the current study aims to investigate if IECMH workers with clinically significant depression and/or anxiety are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. Furthermore, this study will examine whether the utilization of self-care has an impact on perceived stress. The sample includes members of the Tennessee IECMH workforce (n = 121, 98% female, modal age range 30-39 years) surveyed in the summer of 2020. The results indicated that self-care was significantly negatively correlated with perceived stress, and exploratory analyses were conducted to further investigate mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study adds to our understanding of the effects of self-care on perceived stress and the prevalence of mental health symptoms in the IECMH workforce in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, although it is important to continue to study the effects of self-care and its ability to mitigate negative physical and mental health outcomes, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on mental health.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.