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Dr. Kathryn Krase Co-Authors Two Papers on Coping with COVID-19

Dr. Kathryn Krase, associate professor of social work at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, has co-authored two papers concerning coping with compliance and other issues related to COVID-19.

In “Micro, mezzo, and macro factors associated with coping in the early phase of COVID-19” in Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Dr. Krase worked on the study with Dr. Donna Wang (Department of Social Work, Springfield College) and Dr. Thalia MacMillan (School of Human Services, SUNY Empire State College) along with three Wurzweiler doctoral students: Alexandra Chana Fishman, Yonason Ron Witonsky and Chantee Parris-Stingle.

According to Dr. Krase, “The purpose of this study was to examine behavioral adaptation and general coping to the COVID-19 pandemic by adults in the United States and Canada. More specifically, this study seeks to identify micro, mezzo, and macro factors that impacted coping, including gender, race, sources of social support and specific area of challenges.”

The study found that the factors that contributed to higher reported coping were increased age, following preventative measures, support from family and friends, and support from children’s schools. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information, level of life disruption, use of substances as support, challenges with medical care and satisfaction with national government significantly predicted a lesser ability to cope.

In “Compliance with preventative measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA and Canada: Results from an online survey,” published in Social Work in Health Care, Dr. Krase, along with Dr. Donna Wang (Department of Social Work, Springfield College), Dr. Suzanne Marmo-Roman (School of Social Work, Sacred Heart University) and Wurzweiler doctoral student Lusta Phanord, investigated what motivates people to comply with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 using what they called the “theory of reasoned action,” or TRA.

People made decisions to comply with preventative measures for both personal reasons (a desire to protect themselves and family) and a desire to be socially responsible, not only to benefit the greater good but also, as one respondent noted, “I also feel I need to model for my teenager and adult children,” linking individual compliance to benefiting a larger group.

The most common themes expressed for not following preventative measures seemed connected to issues with the measures themselves (too restrictive, unrealistic, getting mixed messages) instead of concern for their own personal well-being and mental health. There were also political reasons for not complying, such as anger toward the government, getting mixed messages from various sources, others not following while the rules were not being “enforced” and feeling oppressed.

These finding, according to Dr. Krase, are “a reminder to social workers that it is not sufficient to address the individuals’ motivations and personal factors or provide preventative education, but rather, to consider and strategize at the macro level.”