Dr. Joel Hughes

Name: Dr. Joel Hughes

Title: Professor and Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychological Sciences

What is your expertise? What are your research interests?

Clinical Health Psychology

How long have you worked at Kent State?

17 years.

When do you first remember hearing about COVID-19 or the "coronavirus?" Did you have any sense at all that it would have as large an impact as it has on our day-to-day life?

In early March a colleague suggested that we should study the response of the university community to the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it causes. He suspected that it would have a large impact on daily life.

´╗┐Is there any experience you have had in your life up until now that compares with what we all are currently navigating? If so, what was it?

This is similar to 9/11 but international in scope and longer-lasting.

How has your day-to-day life changed? What does your new "routine" look like now?

I am working from home, and classes/research/advising is now done remotely.

COVID-19 and our collective response is one of the most interdisciplinary phenomena many of us have seen/experienced. How would you describe how your discipline/research interests/expertise contributes a valuable perspective to our better understanding and responding to COVID-19?

We are studying the mental health impact of the whole experience. I anticipate that anxiety and psychological distress will increase, and will remain for years. The long-term mental health implications are profound, given the economic consequences and effects of quarantine. Psychological science will attempt to understand and address the mental health effects of the novel coronavirus experience.

If you had to embark upon a scholarly project (e.g., research, a new course) right now related to COVID-19 and our collective response, what would that look like?

I have already started three scholarly projects. 1) A survey of the entire KSU community. 2) A longer survey of students participating in the research projects in the Department of Psychological Science. 3) We plan to conduct interviews during the Fall Semester with people who have completed previous surveys.

What other discipline (even without any expertise or knowledge in that area) could you see helpfully complementing yours in pursuit of your new COVID-19 project?

Public health (e.g., epidemiology), nursing, sociology, and medicine.

Do you have any last insights/thoughts regarding COVID-19 and what we are all experiencing?

This is a new and unique experience that will mark history for every generation of Americans alive today. The effects will be geographically specific, but will be long-lasting and profound. We will all remember "before COVID-19 and after COVID-19." The world will seem a different place.