The Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Postsecondary Students: An Analysis of Self-Determination.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has put postsecondary students across the world at risk of psychological distress, negatively impacting their basic psychological well-being, including self-determination. Although the concept of self-determination has been widely discussed in literature, it is poorly understood within the context of postsecondary students during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to examine the concept of self-determination (SD) as it relates to postsecondary students amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rodgers' evolutionary method of concept analysis was used. PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and ERIC were electronically searched using the keywords "postsecondary students" "coronavirus pandemic" and "self-determination." The historical, legal, educational, and health science literature were investigated to generate a holistic definition of SD in the past. This analysis has identified the antecedents, attributes, and consequences of self-determination in postsecondary students during this global health crisis. This analysis adds to the knowledge base regarding the evolution, significance, and application of the concept of SD in the context of postsecondary students amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Implications for future research were also explored, such as using strategies to promote SD in postsecondary students to develop resilience during the pandemic.





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Randall, Paige S, Paula D Koppel, Sharron L Docherty and Jennie C De Gagne (2022). The Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Postsecondary Students: An Analysis of Self-Determination. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(14). p. 8545. 10.3390/ijerph19148545 Retrieved from

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Paula Koppel

Consulting Associate in the School of Nursing

I am a PhD candidate at the Duke University School of Nursing. My program of scholarship seeks to advance our understanding of nurse relationship science in clinical practice and educational settings. My current research focuses on the development of rapport between nurse clinicians and patients in oncology ambulatory care. This includes several studies exploring the development of rapport in telehealth videoconferencing visits. My long-term goal is to improve the relational experience between patients and healthcare providers, promoting a sense of positivity and connection within their dyadic interactions that will foster effective communication, safe and high-quality care, and resilience in both patients and clinicians. 

Prior to pursuing a PhD, my career focused on developing innovative healthcare models that were grounded in person-centered and holistic clinical care. I founded two companies with this mission, Paula Koppel & Partners, LLC and Age Well Be Well, LLC. I am currently an integrative nurse consultant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and integrative health coach . During my time at Duke, I completed a program for certification in nursing education, to enrich my ability to understand and support the educational and professional needs of clinicians on the frontlines of healthcare. I am a board certified geriatric nurse practitioner, advanced holistic nurse, and health and wellness coach. I have presented nationally and internationally for over 35 years.


Sharron Lee Docherty

Associate Professor in the School of Nursing

Dr. Docherty’s research is aimed at improving outcomes for children, adolescents, young adults and families undergoing treatment for life-limiting and chronic conditions. She studies how to improve care models, symptom management, and decision making from diagnosis through end of life.  She has methodological expertise in the use of qualitative, mixed-methods, trajectory science and visualization methodologies for complex data exploration, and intervention development and testing.

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