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Notification of Upcoming Correction

Posted by mbrowning on 27 Aug 2021 at 13:08 GMT

We, the authors, would like to inform the readers that the funding sources were not originally acknowledged by the publisher. This study was based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement OIA-1757351, and was made possible by all universities who participated in this study, in particular, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences at Clemson University and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management in the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University.

Additionally, we would like to share with the readers that a coding error made the results for age in Table 6 and Table A3 inaccurate. We have corrected these values and the revised tables will appear in a PLOS ONE Correction published by the journal in the upcoming months. The coding for race/ethnicity also had an error but it did not change the overall results.

The results should be adjusted to describe how older students were at higher risk of psychological impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic than younger students. These adjustments include:

"Multivariate modeling (mixed-effects logistic regression) showed that being a woman, having fair/poor general health status, being at least 25 years old, spending 8 or more hours on screens daily, and knowing someone infected predicted higher levels of psychological impact when risk factors were considered simultaneously."

"Students who were women, fair/poor general health, being at least 25 years old, reporting 8 or more hours of screen time, and who knew someone infected with COVID-19 were more likely to be in the high profile. Non-Hispanic Asian students were marginally more likely to be in the high impact profile, p = .059… Sensitivity analyses with a subsample of respondents from the representative sample at North Carolina State University identified a similar set of predictors of psychological impact levels (Table A3, S1). Gender, age, general health, and knowing someone infected remained significant predictors. In contrast, screen time was no longer significant, but Non-Hispanic Asian and social class were significant, p = .022 and .0038, respectively."

"In multivariate models controlling, being a woman, being older (at least 25 years old), having poor/fair general health, reporting more screen time, and knowing someone infected were statistically significant risk factors… Our finding that older students were at greater risk than younger students was unexpected. Younger students (i.e., 18 to 24 years old, regardless of academic status) tend to be more worried about their future education and ability to pay for college education than older students [10]. Younger people also engage in social media more than older people during the pandemic [12,82]. Given the dominance of the COVID-19 pandemic in the news, it could have been expected that younger "always-on" students were exposed to greater amounts of risk-elevating messages, which could have led to anxiety and poor mental health [16,75]. Since our data suggest the opposite, further investigation into social media use and reactions among younger and older students is called upon to understand why older students were at greater risk of psychological impacts."

"Colleges and universities also have a moral obligation to boost their outreach to particularly vulnerable groups–that is, populations at risk of high levels of psychological impact from COVID-19 [14]. As documented in the impact profiles of our study, people at increased risk include women, older students, students with pre-existing health concerns, students spending at least one-third of their day (including time spent sleeping) on screens, and students with family or community members who are infected with COVID-19."

"Our cross-sectional study found that being a woman, being of older age, experiencing poor/fair general health, spending extensive time on screens, and knowing someone infected with COVID-19 were risk factors for higher levels of psychological impact during the pandemic among college students in the United States."

We, the authors, sincerely apologize for the unintentional mischaracterization of younger adults being at higher risk of psychological impacts from COVID-19. This coding error does not change the other findings in this paper.

No competing interests declared.