Online Program

College health service utilization following the Boston marathon bombing events

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Adrienne Wald, EdD, MBA, RN, CHES, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachussetts, Boston, MA
Suzanne Leveille, PhD, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA
Pat Halon, DNP, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA
Background Terrorist acts are on the rise globally and locally. Because of circumstances and location, the Boston Marathon bombing and aftermath events (BME) had unique implications for college student health. The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the impact on college students and College Health Services (CHS) in a large public university in Boston. Methods Data on student involvement in BME and CHS utilization pre and post-BME was collected at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB). A similar survey is underway at 3 other campuses within the University of Massachusetts System. Demographic characteristics, BME experience data on the student population, and student health and mental health visit data was collected. Results Thirty UMB students were involved in the Boston Marathon as volunteers in close proximity to the bombings; students participated as runners and spectators. A former UMB student was killed and a current student was injured in the blasts. UMB held several BME-related informal and formal events in the subsequent weeks. Compared to months prior to BME, primary care visits for anxiety and depression more than doubled in the 2 months following the BME and a similar sharp increase occurred in mental health visits for anxiety and depression during this time. Discussion The BME had a significant impact on the student population. The increase in mental health-related CHS utilization illustrates the key role CHS served. Further research is needed to understand the scope of the student health needs and to plan for effective responses in the future.

Learning Areas:


Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of the Boston Marathon bombing events on college student mental health at a large public university

Keyword(s): Epidemiology, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 35 years in nursing, health care administration and teaching in higher education and have authored a chapter in a public health nursing textbook. My expertise includes health promotion and health education in the college health population. I have presented my research at numerous conferences.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.