Responding to COVID-19: psychology research, learning, and graduating reimagined

Students in the UBC AMS Nest. Photo: Jamil Rhajiak / UBC Brand & Marketing

Our department, faculty and students navigated the past year with perseverance and success. Below are some highlights of our COVID-19 research, online learning, and virtual celebrations.

COVID-19 Research

Despite lab closures, our researchers responded by studying the cultural and social impact of the global pandemic—as well as mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19.

At the start of the pandemic, Dr. Anita DeLongis and Dr. Nancy Sin launched a global study to explore the psychological effects of COVID-19. And with Patrick Klaiber and Jin Wen, Drs. DeLongis and Sin found that older adults coped with the pandemic best.

Dr. Susan Birch is exploring social emotional health—and how the coronavirus pandemic may be affecting families. Dr. Christiane Hoppmann is looking at how social relationships and family can promote health and wellbeing during the pandemic. Dr. Janet Werker is leading an interdisciplinary team to study how literacy is changing in a digital, multicultural, and covid-hit, world.

In addition, there are a number of UBC Psychology COVID 19- studies underway:

Do you have COVID-19 research project underway that’s not included here? Email

The virtual classroom

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed education. UBC transitioned to virtual learning and the department’s sudden shift to online learning has been a monumental task for faculty and staff.

To welcome new and returning students, the department hosted an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit and delivered its orientation through Canvas.

Dr. Benjamin Cheung explored the intersection of culture and race with individual and community wellbeing through the delivery of the course ACAM 320B: Health Among the Asian Diaspora in Canada.

Graduating virtually

On June 17, 2020, over 550 psychology students officially graduated. While we couldn’t celebrate in person, we celebrated our students virtually.

On November 25, 2020, a number of psychology master’s and doctoral students graduated. From developing parenting interventions to support child development—to showing that hearing persists at the end of life, these early career researchers are addressing some of the critical challenges facing our society today.

COVID-19 research in the news

Below is a snapshot of just some of the expert opinions of our faculty featured in the media.