COVID-19 Research and News

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Below are the projects conducted by ISR researchers. For a full list of U-M research projects, visit

Crowding at the Ballot Box

Joshua Ackerman
Prior research has shown that concerns about infectious disease lead people to view social situations as more crowded and confining. The current project considers implications of this for voting attitudes and behavior by testing whether COVID-19 concerns shape voter considerations of in-person vs. distance voting options.

Accelerating Changes in Norms about Social Distancing to Combat COVID-19

Dean Yang
The top priority for this project is to produce information that can directly inform the humanitarian response to COVID-19, and do so quickly. We intend to do so by

  1. informing policymakers of their target population’s knowledge and behavior related to the disease, and
  2. implementing novel interventions that aim to quicken changes in norms and improve behaviors relating to social distancing.

COVID-19 Response Amendment to Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Dean Yang
In partnership with the Mozambican government, we week to provide rapid assessment of COVID-19-related knowledge, beliefs, and protective behaviors, and seek to accelerate changes in norms of social distancing.

Parenting Stress During a Global Health Crisis

Shawna Lee
The survey examined parenting, mental health and coping skills, and romantic relationships during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 Coping Study: A Longitudinal, Online Survey of Older Americans’ Health and Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jessica Finlay
The aim of the COVID-19 Coping Study is to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic and associated control practices and policies are affecting the mental health and well-being of older adults in America, and to identify strategies that help older adults to cope. The goal is to generate knowledge that can be used to inform best practices to support health and well-being of older adults during public health crises. The researchers are using a multi-frame sampling strategy, first through an online panel with quotas for age, sex, and race/ethnicity to match the general older population, and then through distribution through professional society networks, professional contacts, mailing lists of seniors’ organizations, and social media.

HARMONY – Home Activities and Routines Observed Naturally

Richard Gonzalez
HARMONY is a study of the impact of COVID-19 on parenting and division of labor among co-parents with very young children.

Acceptability, Usability & Efficacy of Tele-Mental Health Group Interventions for Trauma-exposed Psychiatric Patients and Frontline Healthcare Providers During COVID

Anthony King
Responsive to safety measures for COVID, Michigan Medicine is shifting psychotherapy services as possible to tele-mental health / “video visits”. We will collect program evaluation data on the acceptability, usability and efficacy of tele-mental health group psychotherapies for trauma and stress exposures in three ad hoc clinical cohorts: (i) PTSD patients (N=15) currently enrolled in an RCT of 8-week Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) vs relaxation therapy (PMR); (ii) psychiatric patients with anxiety and/or depression enrolled in an 8-week MBCT group offered by MM Psychiatry, and (iii) a 4-week group therapy program to be offered by MM Psychiatry (“Tools for Managing Anxiety from COVID-19”).

Study of Adolescent to Adult Neural Development – Brief Check-In

Christopher Monk
We propose to acquire survey data via the internet or phone to assess the health (physical and mental) and economic circumstances of an existing sample of predominantly lower income subjects during the COVID-19 crisis. The participants are part of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study, which is a longitudinal study of participants who have been followed since birth and they are now about 21 years of age.

A Barometric Survey of COVID-19’s Impacts on Entrepreneurs

Felichism Kabo
The COVID-19 pandemic is having heavy and unprecedented impacts on entrepreneurs and small businesses across the nation, and it is imperative that we collect data on how COVID-19 is currently impacting entrepreneurs in order to position us to better address the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the national economy. We plan to do this by administering a COVID-19 supplemental survey to the nationally representative Understanding America Study (UAS) internet panel in the summer of 2020.

Health and Retirement Study

David Weir
The Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal study of older Americans begun in 1992, will add to its ongoing 2020 telephone interviews a set of questions on experience with COVID-19 and the impact of the pandemic and mitigation policies on health care, work, and family.

Michigan Twin Neurogenetics Study

Luke Hyde
The overall study aim is to examine how poverty-related adversity undermines brain development to increase risk for these maladaptive outcomes. The addition of a COVID-19 stress assessment will permit us to examine the impact of this exogenous stressor on youth and families in real-time so we can better understand the economic, social and psychiatric impact of COVID-19 on low-income families and the impact on adolescent brain and behavior development, overall.

Experiences and Well-being of College Students during the Pandemic

Daniel Eisenberg
By adding new questions to our national survey study of college student mental health, the Healthy Minds Study, we will examine the experiences and well-being of students during the pandemic.

Support for Executive Decree Authority and the Severity of Crisis​

Kenneth Lowande
This project fields a nationally-representative survey to determine whether support for the enactment of various COVID-19 public policy responses via executive order is conditional on the localized severity of the pandemic.

DMACS – COVID Rapid Response Supplemental Survey

Jeffrey Morenoff
DMACS is an ongoing representative panel survey of Detroit adults. DMACS is fielding multiple short survey waves to better understand how Detroiters are experiencing the health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic; what preventative behaviors are they taking; how are they grappling with new financial hardships; and how much do they support various public policy approaches to dealing with the crisis.

Exploring Parents’ Experiences of Service Access and Parenting Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Anne Blumenthal
Through longitudinal surveys, this study asks: How are parents faring during this crisis? How are their parenting challenges related to their economic resources? How are parents getting the help they need and who are they receiving it from?

PETAL COVID-19 Observational Study

Theodore J. Iwashyna
This national epidemiological cohort will measure the patterns of recovery of cardio-pulmonary, physical, cognitive, emotional and social function among patients with COVID, understanding both their own healing process over time, and how it affects their caregivers and family.

The Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Persons with Disabilities

Joshua Ehrlich
This project will survey adults with various disabilities (physical, hearing, vision) and adults without disability to investigate the impact of COVID-19, and the societal response to COVID-19 on the daily lives of persons with disabilities; we will investigate the impacts on procuring food and medicine, work, transportation and economics.

Resolving the distress and grief brought on by the COVID-19 crisis with step-care treatment

David Fresco
Building on our past clinical trials work (i.e., Emotion Regulation Therapy [ERT]) 19-23 and grief (i.e., Complicated Grief Therapy [CGT]) 24-26, the overarching goals of this proposal are to assemble, refine, and deploy a harmonized ERT/CGT intervention presented in an asynchronous mHealth format + minimal tele-therapy facilitation that can be intensified into therapist-directed individual teletherapy as needed to help resolve complicated forms of distress brought about by the COVID-19 virus and the resultant mandatory sequestration.

ICPSR’s 2020 Data Resource Page

Dory Knight-Ingram
ICPSR offers 2020 data resources related to Coronavirus, Census, Earth Day Anniversary, Olympics, and Elections.

ICPSR Working Paper 2: Best Practices for Measuring the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Impact of Epidemics

This report reviews best practices for using data resources from ICPSR, its projects, and its collaborating partners for measuring the impact of epidemics. The report summarizes resources to identify measures of well-being, social connectedness, and other constructs to measure the social and behavioral effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on population health outcomes. The report suggests data resources to identify pre-crisis measures of social distancing, social networks, consumer confidence, unemployment, and the use of social media. URL:

​Parents’ Perceptions of Children’s Responses to News of COVID-19

Kristin Harrison
This project is a survey of children’s fright reactions to news about COVID-19 as reported by parents. The analytical goal is to identify the most frightening stimuli and most effective coping strategies by developmental stage to advise parents on effective coping strategies for children of different ages.

​HEART Covid Recovery Project

Richard Gonzalez & Theodore J. Iwashyna
A research study developing tools to support COVID-19 patients and their caregivers at home.

​Supplement to Alzheimer’s Disease Risk and Ethnic Factors: The Case of Arab Americans (R01AG057510)

Kristine Ajrouch
This application for an NIA Administrative Supplement proposes to expand Alzheimer’s Disease Risk and Ethnic Factors: The Case of Arab Americans (R01AG057510) to incorporate COVID-19 stress as an area of investigation.

​The influence of socio-cultural ecologies on the COVID-19 pandemic

Shinobu Kitayama
We examined whether global variation in COVID-19 confirmed cases would be predicted by relational mobility, the community-level tendency to engage with strangers, and freely choose friends. We found relational mobility predicted an increased growth rate of cases across 37 countries, after controlling for relevant demographic and cultural variables.

2020 Speak to Your Health! Community Survey

Daniel Kruger
The Speak to Your Health! Community Survey is a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project that examines a wide range of issues related to individual and community health in Genesee County, Michigan. The survey has been conducted every other year since 2003, the 2020 survey wave incorporates questions related to COVID and its impact on community health.

How Are You Coping With COVID-19? U-M Researchers Conduct Survey With Older Adults
WEMU | 7/28/20 | Jessica Finlay, SRC

100 Days Out, Trump’s Reset on Virus Too Late For Some
Bloomberg News | 7/26/20 | Michael Traugott, CPS

What happens to the U.S. economy if the $600 federal unemployment benefit ends?
Los Angeles Times | 7/22/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

The Finance 202: Millions of Americans face financial shock as benefits set to lapse in days
The Washington Post | 7/21/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

It Is Too Late to Save These Victims of the Pandemic
Foreign Policy | 7/20/20 | Dean Yang, PSC

Young people are leading the rise of COVID cases in Michigan. Here’s what it means.
Michigan Radio | 7/15/20 | Neil Mehta, PSC

What happens if Covid-19 symptoms don’t go away? Doctors are trying to figure it out.
Vox | 7/14/20 | Theodore Iwashyna, SRC

The Covid Death Rate in Majority-Black Counties Is Getting Worse
Bloomberg News | 7/13/20 | Arline Geronimus, PSC

COVID-19 survey work builds on U-M researcher’s projects in Mozambique
U-M News | 7/9/20 | Dean Yang, PSC

Exclusive: ’I just want to hug my mom’: COVID visitation ban takes emotional toll on nursing-home residents, families
MLive | 7/6/20 | Edward Norton, PSC

Unemployment remains steadily high in Detroit
U-M News | 6/30/20 | Jeffrey Morenoff, PSC (DMACS)

Exclusive: State’s handling of COVID in nursing homes worthy of critique, but GOP lawmakers miss mark, experts say
MLive | 6/26/20 | Edward Norton, PSC

Consumer confidence: Coronavirus trends dominate economy
U-M News | 6/26/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

Michigan Officials Look to Boost Funding For Schools Re-Opening
WDET Radio | 6/24/20 | Elizabeth Moje, RCGD

Exclusive: Coronavirus, racial protest response could undermine Trump’s outreach to Black voters in Michigan
MLive | 6/20/20 | Vincent Hutchings, CPS

‘I don’t want to be someone in need of cash.’ Economic downturns can lead to ‘consumer scarring’ — will it happen now?
MarketWatch | 6/18/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

Breaking down the costs and benefits of lockdowns
BusinessDay | 6/13/20 | Sarah Burgard, PSC

Why People of Color Are Disproportionately Hit by COVID-19
Discover Magazine | 6/12/20 | Tom Buchmueller, PSC

Foster care and child well-being: Insights in the time of coronavirus
U-M News | 6/11/20 | Youth Policy Lab

How COVID-19 is Impacting Detroit Residents
Michigan Minds Podcast | 6/10/20 | Jeffrey Morenoff, PSC

Can Firms Be Trusted After Easing of Collusion Rules During Pandemic?
Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School | 6/1/20 | Margaret Levenstein, ICPSR

Study reveals impact of stay at home orders on mental health
The Michigan Daily | 6/1/20 | Shawna J. Lee, RCGD

Social Isolation and Physical Distancing in Time
The ANNEX Podcast | 6/1/20 | Sarah Patterson, PSC; Jessica Finlay, SRC

Why people are flouting coronavirus social distancing precautions that we know save lives
ABC News | 5/30/20 | Joshua Ackerman, RCGD

Senate GOP Has No Plan To Help Millions Of Americans Losing Health Insurance During Pandemic
Huffington Post | 5/27/20 | Sarah Miller, PSC

Scared Americans desperate to travel are buying up ‘covid campers’
Houston Chronicle | 5/26/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

More than 4 in 10 Detroiters have lost jobs during pandemic
U-M News | 5/26/20 | Jeffrey Morenoff, DMACS

Thousands lost medical coverage as pandemic approached
PBS News Hour | 5/23/20 | Sarah Miller, PSC

Covid-19’s Toll on Prison Labor Doesn’t Just Hurt Inmates
Wired | 5/19/20 | Heather Ann Thompson, PSC

How to address the coronavirus’s outsized toll on people of colour
Nature | 5/18/20 | Enrique Neblett, RCGD

Why Experts Break Their Own Lockdown Rules
Foreign Policy | 5/12/20 | David Dunning, RCGD

Here’s what the number of COVID-19 cases in your county really means
Michigan Radio | 5/12/20 | Neil Mehta, PSC & SRC

Detroit housing shortage, evictions set stage for COVID-19 housing crisis
U-M News | 5/12/20 | Detroit Metro Area Communities Study (DMACS), Poverty Solutions

Scarred And Scared, The Reshaping Of American Consumer Begins
Financial Advisor | 5/11/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

America’s Cash Assistance Program Appears Dead When People Need It Most
Huffington Post | 5/5/20 | H. Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions

The Finance 202: American consumers aren’t ready to shop again, even as states reopen
The Washington Post | 5/5/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

The policy mistakes from the 1990s that have made covid-19 worse
The Washington Post | 5/4/20 | Heather Ann Thompson, PSC

How COVID-19 is Impacting Older Adults
Michigan Minds | 5/4/20 | Jessica Finlay, SRC

UM: Before COVID about 14% of state residents were living in poverty, 29% near it
The Detroit News | 5/4/20 | H. Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions

Binge-watching can soothe the coronavirus quarantine blues, and no need for guilt
Detroit Free Press | 5/2/20 | Jan Van den Bulck, RCGD

States Made It Harder to Get Jobless Benefits. Now That’s Hard to Undo
The Upshot | 4/30/20 | H. Luke Shaefer, PSC & SRC

Hit hard by coronavirus, Detroit gets creative to boost census counts
Bridge | 4/30/20 | Reynolds Farley, PSC

A Terrible Price’: The Deadly Racial Disparities of Covid-19 in America
The New York Times | 4/29/20 | Arline Geronimus, PSC

U-M releases resource guide for nonprofits seeking public assistance
U-M News | 4/23/20 | Youth Policy Lab, SRC

Coronavirus slashing money immigrants send home by 20%, creating second economic crisis
Los Angeles Times | 4/22/20 | Dean Yang, PSC

Why the U.S. economy’s recovery from the coronavirus is likely to be long and painful
MarketPlace | 4/22/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

Coping with COVID-19: Adults turn to alcohol, marijuana
U-M News | 4/22/20 | Shawna Lee, RCGD

As state cases plateau, here’s how we avoid another surge
Stateside Radio | 4/21/20 | Neil Mehta, PSC & SRC

Coronavirus: Release of older at-risk prisoners with violent records poses little crime risk
U-M News | 4/20/20 | J.J. Prescott & Sonja Starr, PSC

After Virus Delays, Census Must Scramble to Avoid Undercount
The New York Times | 4/18/20 | Barbara Anderson, PSC

Recessions often improve population health, but COVID-19 may be different
Boston Review | 4/15/20 | Sarah Burgard, PSC

Hunger for ‘good news’ grows as pandemic woes deepen
Radio France Internationale | 4/14/20 | Stuart Soroka, CPS

Students Will Return to School At Many Different Academic, Emotional Levels
WDET | 4/14/20 | Elizabeth Birr Moje, RCGD

Coronavirus, marriage and depression
U-M News | 4/14/20 | William Axinn, PSC

Trump’s Key 2020 States Reel Under Twin Blows of Virus, Job Loss
Bloomberg | 4/14/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

Mandated TB vaccination predicts flattened curves for COVID-19 spread
U-M News | 4/13/20 | Shinobu Kitayama, RCGD

4 Behavioral Economists Weigh In On One Important Question: What Should People Do With Their Coming Stimulus Checks?
Forbes | 4/13/20 | David Dunning, RCGD

The coronavirus may trigger tribal instincts. In times of crisis, people want strong leaders
The Washington Post | 4/10/20 | Ronald Inglehart, CPS

When COVID-19 meets centralized, personalized power
Nature Human Behavior | April 2020 | Yuen Yuen Ang, CPS

African Americans and COVID-19 in Michigan: U-M experts available
U-M News | 4/9/20

Seniors who use video chat less likely to report symptoms of depression
McKnight’s Long-term Care News | 4/7/20 | Health and Retirement Study (HRS)

Coronavirus and K-12 education: U-M experts can discuss
U-M News | 4/7/20

Best Practices for Measuring the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Impact of Epidemics
ICPSR | 4/3/20

Why people are being released from jails and prisons during the pandemic
Vox | 4/3/20 | Sonja Starr, PSC

More aid to consumers urgently needed
U-M News | 4/3/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

People seek immediate solutions to cope with fear – Faculty Q&A
U-M News | 4/2/20 | Joshua Ackerman, RCGD

On Census Day, a scramble to replace mass rallies in a country under quarantine
The Washington Post | 3/31/20 | William Frey, PSC

Automakers Are About to Give an Inkling of the Sales Collapse Ahead
Bloomberg | 3/31/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

Coronavirus causing conflict between parents, children
U-M News | 3/31/20 | Shawna Lee, RCGD

COVID-19 Stress, Trust, and the Media
LSA News | 3/30/20 | Brian Weeks, CPS

Economic-Stimulus Checks Differ From Past Interventions
The Wall Street Journal | 3/28/20 | Matthew Shapiro, SRC

Coronavirus recession: How deep and how long?
U-M News | 3/27/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

When Dementia Meets the Coronavirus Crisis
The New York Times | 3/26/20 | Ken Langa, SRC

Stateside: What “stay-at-home” means; jump in joblessness strains safety net; “Commie High” movie
Stateside | 3/24/20 | H. Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions

Reduced consumer spending will outlast coronavirus
U-M News | 3/23/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

Will Americans Actually Comply With a Long-Term Lockdown?
The Daily Beast | 3/20/20 | Joshua Ackerman, RCGD

Coronavirus and Poverty: A Mother Skips Meals So Her Children Can Eat
The New York Times | 3/20/20 | H. Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions

8 Ways Coronavirus Will Drastically Alter Boomer Retirements
Forbes | 3/16/20 | Health and Retirement Study (HRS)

Coronavirus Social-Distancing Forces Painful Choices on Small Businesses
Wall Street Journal | 3/15/20 | Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers

Michigan businesses brace for challenges as coronavirus hits home
Detroit Free Press | 3/14/20 | H. Luke Shaefer, Dir. Poverty Solutions, PSC & SRC

Don’t Go Down a Coronavirus Anxiety Spiral
Wired | 3/13/20 | Ethan Kross, RCGD