Social-distancing and self-quarantine measures taken in the wake of COVID-19, along with the job losses and economic uncertainty people are facing, drove IUNI Advisory Council Member Brea Perry (IUB Sociology) to consider the mental health consequences of the pandemic.
In a recent news story from IU’s Precision Health Initiative, Perry talked about why the research team for the Person to Person Health Interview Study she is part of decided to broaden its scope to include research about COVID-19.
“Feelings of loneliness and social isolation increase risk for death and disease,” Perry said in the article. “So I was immediately concerned about the mental health consequences and the effects on people’s substance use and other health behaviors. I knew we needed to get in the field as quickly as possible to understand those things.”
The Person to Person Health Interview Study is a face-to-face study that collects information from Indiana residents on social and physical environments, cultures, behaviors, and genetics. Researchers use the results to understand how these factors make up Hoosiers’ health and what they can teach us about improving the health of everyone across the state.
IUNI Advisory Board Member Bernice Pescosolido (IUB Sociology) serves as the study’s principal investigator, while IUNI Affiliate Hank Green (IUB Public Health) serves as the director of research. Both IUNI Associate Director Ann McCranie and IUNI Research Scientist Erin Pullen have been involved in the study since the beginning.
Expanding to include COVID-19
Researchers have been conducting in-person interviews for the Person to Person Health Interview Study since 2018 and have interviewed almost 1,700 people, with a goal of talking to 2,000 people.
Now, the research team plans to use the research they’ve already conducted as a baseline for new research on the mental and physical health effects of COVID-19.
Researchers will conduct a longitudinal study by following up with those they’ve already interviewed in-person for phone interviews, incorporating questions about the coronavirus, and comparing responses during and after the pandemic.
You can read more about their work here: Precision Health story
If you’re interested in hearing about what other researchers are doing at IU in response to COVID-19, you can read our previous blog post here.
Are you doing work related to COVID-19 and networks at Indiana University? Let us know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to highlight it here and follow your work.