SJC Long Island’s Dominique Treboux, Ph.D., professor of psychology, and her former students Mikayla Kowalevich ’20 and Olivia Phillips ’20 presented research virtually this month at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference.
The idea for their research, entitled “The Early Days of the Pandemic: Relations Among Views of God and COVID-19 Well-Being and Pro-Social Orientation,” came from Dr. Treboux’s desire to help others at the start of the pandemic.
“When the epidemic first erupted, I wished I had skills possessed by those working on the frontlines so that I could help people,” Dr. Treboux said. “But I am not a clinician but a researcher, and (I knew) my contribution would have to be along the lines of understanding the effects of the pandemic on the population.”
Thinking about the effects of disasters was not a new idea for Dr. Treboux, who previously, with colleague Kirk Lawrence, Ph.D., associate chair and associate professor of sociology, conducted studies about the effects of Superstorm Sandy on people’s well-being
“For this study, I drew on my previous research on the role of religion, Dr. Treboux said. “Specifically, the views people hold about a God or higher power, especially whether this entity was considered mostly loving or punitive, and whether such views might influence their pro-social behavior.”
The research took place online in April 2020. Subjects consisted of 254 people between the ages of 18 and 30 who identified as religious. There are plans to run the study again this April to see how the findings have changed.
“A year later, people may have started relying on religious beliefs as explanatory mechanisms for what has happened,” Dr. Treboux explained.
After completing the second study, Dr. Treboux, Kowalevich and Phillips hope to publish their research.